A Harare man, whose wife was fatally shot by soldiers in post-election violence on August 1, has given the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) a 30-day ultimatum to accept liability and pay compensation or face legal action.
Thokozani Robert Maposa has also accused the army of having acted “recklessly”, resulting in the death of his wife, Sylvia, who was the family’s bread winner and employed by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
In a letter dated October 15, addressed to Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and copied to the Attorney-General (AG) Advocate Prince Machaya and the ZDF Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, Maposa, through his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said his family had suffered untold psychological trauma as a result of the loss of their breadwinner and also encountered huge funeral expenses.
“As you are aware, the actions of the army in opening fire using live ammunition against an unarmed civilian who was facing away from the line of fire was not only unlawful, but constituted a gross violation of the army’s constitutional obligation to protect citizens,” Maposa’s lawyer said.
“It was a result of the army’s gross deliberate actions that (Sylvia) lost her life, which resulted in the dependant’s family members losing their means of support in addition to suffering the unimaginable trauma of seeing a loved one being the subject of social medial exchanges with a visible bullet wound in the back.”
Maposa’s wife was one of the seven people shot dead by soldiers, prompting President Emmerson Mnangagwa to institute a commission of inquiry led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe.
The inquiry is on-going.
“We, therefore, give you notice of the intended legal suit and would be grateful to hear from you regarding your attitude on the issue of liability,” Maposa’s lawyer said.
“If we have not heard from you within 30 calendar days of this letter, we shall assume that you are denying liability, in which event we shall thereafter proceed in the best interests of our client without further notice to you.”
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