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The Untold Stories Of Human Rights Lawyers

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By Kennedy Masiye

 

Munashe Magwaza is one client whose circumstances became personal.

 

 

He came to our offices (ZLHR) 3 years after suffering serious injuries which left him paralyzed and wheelchair bound.

 

 

 

Mr Magwaza survived an electrocution which was caused by the negligence of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) . On his way to work one day, he unknowingly stumbled on a high voltage electric cable which had been left bare by the employees of ZETDC.

 

 

He spent over a year in hospital being treated. ZETDC refused to pay his hospital bills, he lost his job, and housing.

 

 

 

The bottom half of his body was burnt beyond resuscitation and he became permanently disabled. Mr Magwaza used to be a Security Guard in good health taking care of his family.

 

 

 

A few years after becoming disabled he lost his family. His wife left him and took their child with her. The man had lost everything! He wrote several letters to the electricity company which were all ignored. He even tried to visit the offices but no one wanted to hear his cry for help!

 

 

 

Mr Magwaza came specifically looking for me at our offices and in his hand were newspaper clips of cases I had won for other clients several months back. He said he knew about me through those newspapers and also through a radio station called VOA Studio 7.

 

 

 

He was now living in Chibi rural area and he told me that when managed to raise busfare he immediately traveled to the Capital city to see me. He said in the past he had tried to engage other lawyers but he could not afford to pay the fees.

 

 

 

 

I took up Mr Magwaza’s case and filed a law suit against ZETDC in the High court of Zimbabwe.

 

 

 

The case dragged on for almost 2 years but in the end Mr Magwaza won his case. He was awarded a couple of US dollars and was reimbursed all his hospital bills and expenses. ZETDC also would pay for his future medical need.

 

 

 

Such was my work as a human rights probono lawyer in Zimbabwe! #Wezhira #allhoj

Robert Tapfumaneyi