A Zimbabwean man shot and seriously wounded by his Chinese employer will be demanding compensation after the attack reportedly left him with a permanent disability, local outlets reported on Monday.
Kenneth Tachiona, 39, was one of two people shot and seriously injured by Chinese businessman Zhang Xueun over a heated wage dispute. Tachiona claims Zhang had initially promised to pay in U.S. dollars, given the destitute state of Zimbabwe’s dollar, but then refused to do so.
Talking to Voice of America, Tachiona confirmed he would fight for compensation and that his family may not be able to survive without it. He also recounted his memory of the incident, which according to a police report, saw him shot three times in the right leg and twice in the left leg. Zhang, 41, has since been charged with attempted murder and currently remains in custody.
“There is nothing that I did wrong. We were conversing and he said since I was one of the longest-serving workers I should convince others to go back to work,” he explained. “When I told him that I couldn’t do that since the other workers were there to speak for themselves, that’s when he told me I was fired. We exchanged some words and the next thing I remember is hearing gunshots and pain in my legs.”
Tachiona now says he will likely be disabled for the rest of his life after doctors told him he will never be able to use his legs again normally. He also expressed concern about how he would provide for his wife and five children as he will not be able to work anymore.
“Of course I want the law to take its course but I’m now disabled and for me the most important thing is to be compensated adequately,” he continued. “I’d be happy if he gets jailed for this crime but my biggest concern is that I should be paid enough money to enable me to take care of my family for the rest of my life since I won’t be able to work anymore.”
The incident has triggered outrage among Zimbabweans regarding China’s growing presence in the country. Beijing has long taken advantage of the country and the wider African continent for its own economic, political, and military gain under the guise of its global infrastructure and development strategy known as the “Belt and Road Initiative.” Last month, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) pledged to launch a global campaign against Chinese involvement in Zimbabwe should the country’s investors keep disrespecting labor rights.
“There is no doubt that your compatriots are a law unto themselves and act with impunity knowing that they have protection from someone in the higher offices,” read the letter, sent to the Chinese ambassador in Harare. “Why is it that of all investors coming to Zimbabwe, the Chinese investors have proved to be the most abusive?”