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City of Harare sued successfully by a man who fell in an unsecured ditch in the city

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High court has ordered Harare City Council to pay $9 796 to one Evaristo Mungate who sued after he broke his leg in the capital a few years ago. Mungate fell into an unsecured drainage pipe along Simon Mazorodze road on the 28th of March 2014 and broke his leg.

Justice Esther Muremba Muremba awarded the compensation for shock, pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, disability and medical expenses. The judge, however, dismissed Mungate’s claim for $300, 000 as “ridiculous”.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com lawyer, Tafadzwa Christmas, said no amount of money can compensate one for bodily harm after he successfully represented Mungate. Christmas said the award was for general damages as opposed to special damages.

Christmas also said the case sets a precedent which can be relied upon to hold the council liable for negligence arising from commission and or omission which result in harm or patrimonial loss to members of the public.

“The court gives an estimate of what it deems commensurate based on the court's/judge's opinion of the harm suffered; how much the courts in Zimbabwe have awarded as damages in the past and the economic status quo in the country,” he said.

He urged residents who have similar plights to access free legal services just as Mungate did.

“It is part of our anti-impunity drive aimed at fostering a culture of accountability in all public institutions.”

The injured Mungate is now unable to walk and relies on crutches. Mungate also said the delay in his matter was due to the fact that he had no legal representation until he approached the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

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