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Minister ordered to pay US$4 237 to man who fell into roadside trench

Transport Minister Felix Mhona has been ordered by court to pay ZWL 500 000 (US$4 237) in damages to a Chitungwiza resident who sustained injuries when he fell into an uncovered roadside amid ongoing concerns over poor roads in Zimbabwe.

The 39 year-old Shepherd Chishiri sued Mhona and City of Harare for damages arising from negligence of the two in failing to construct proper roads.

He was represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

The Attorney General’s office has also been ordered to pay US$1 470 as special damages to cover some medical expenses which Chishiri incurred.

“JUST IN: A Harare Magistrate punishes Felix Mhona of Ministry of Transport by ordering him to pay +ZWL 500 000 in damages to a Chitungwiza resident as compensation for negligence after he sustained injuries when he fell into an uncovered roadside trench at Mbudzi roundabout in Harare,” ZLHR confirmed.

“The Magistrate recently granted the order after 39 year-old Shepherd Chishiri was assisted by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR to sue Mhona and Harare City for damages arising from negligence by the 2 on the basis that City of Harare and Hon.

“Mhona had breached their duty of care by leaving the roadside trench unmarked and uncovered,” ZLHR posted on Twitter.

“In court, Chishiri said he broke his right leg and had to undergo an operation in hospital at his own expense after he fell into an uncovered roadside trench at Mbudzi roundabout along Simon Mazorodze road in Harare on 23 February 2020 in the evening after he had disembarked from a commuter omnibus.

“He blamed Hon. Mhona and City of Harare for leaving an open storm water drain and for failing to guard members of the public from foreseeable harm. The storm water drain, Chishiri said, was unmarked such that it was impossible for him to ascertain its existence.

Chishiri told the court that he suffered a 9% permanent disability and hence as an avid social soccer player he cannot play his favourite sport anymore and can no longer continuously drive a vehicle.

The Magistrate ordered Mhona to pay Chishiri ZWL506 949 broken down as ZWL200 000 in damages for pain and suffering, ZWL 250 000 being damages for future medical expenses, ZWL 50 000 for loss of social amenities in life and ZWL 6 949 being special damages for medical expenses incurred.

Mhona, who through his lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office told the court that he was not opposed to Chishiri’s application and would abide by the court’s decision, was also ordered to pay US$1 470 as special damages to cover some medical expenses which Chishiri incurred.

The state of roads and bridges around the country is dire. Government has since started their reconstruction after years of neglect under the Roads Rehabilitation Programme, which has guzzled billions of dollars. Nehanda Radio

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