January 2019 fuel protests shooting victim sues police for US$50,000

HARARE – An Epworth man who was shot by police during the January 2019 fuel protests is suing the home affairs minister and the police chief for Z$6.2 million (about US$50,000).

Pardon Chitongo, 25, says he was an innocent bystander as police clashed with protesters on January 14, 2019.

Police used lethal force and Chitongo, who was standing outside his uncle’s home, was shot. The bullet pierced through his arm, penetrated his body and came out the other side hitting his other arm.

As a result of the grave nature of his injuries, Chitongo had to undergo an operation to remove one of his kidneys and has suffered permanent damage to his spinal cord.

Chitongo, who is represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights legal team Fiona Aliff and Paida Saurombe, is demanding compensation from home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and police chief Godwin Matanga.

Justice Gladys Mhuri has set March 7 and 8 for the hearing.

Countrywide protests rocked the country in January 2019 after the government raised fuel prices by more than 150 percent. Police and soldiers were deployed, leading to the shooting deaths of more than two dozen people, according to rights groups.

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