By-Yonah Ncube (94), who served as a personal driver to the late nationalist, Vice President Joshua Nkomo, is suing the state and seeking reparations after he was shot by a Fifth brigade soldier in 1983.
Ncube who was shot while at Nkomo’s home in Pelandaba Suburb told CITE in an interview at his sister in law’s house in Nketa suburb on Saturday that the matter has also been taken to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) for attention.
It was on 5 March 1983 when a soldier shot me point blank on the right side of my chest. I remember losing a lot of blood. I want them to pay me for my blood. They can estimate the amount of blood I lost and calculate its cost.
I need closure, as I have been traumatised all my life since that day. I was 55 then and ever since I was unable to work.
On March 5, 1983, we heard a helicopter flying above announcing that Bulawayo was surrounded and everyone was commanded to stay home. I and other workers were at Nkomo’s house in Pelandaba in the afternoon when soldiers arrived with the support unit and searched the whole house. Many more surrounded the house and we wondered what they wanted. That afternoon I sent my son to a neighbour’s house because I had an uneasy unfeeling.
Ncube said that evening one soldier returned back and found him by himself. The soldier questioned him in Shona demanding to know where Nkomo was.
He responded saying he did not know but the soldier did not believe him. The soldier then commanded that the houses be searched. During the search, the soldier shot Ncube on the right side of his chest and he collapsed.
The soldier then left. Ncube was recovered later by the police support unit which came with one soldier and drove to Mpilo where he was admitted for two months under police guard.
The day after Ncube’s shooting, a state newspaper reported that Nkomo’s driver who was armed with a gun had been shot and killed, reports he denies.
After he was discharged, Ncube was taken straight to jail at West Commonage Police Station where he spent almost two months but no docket was opened, neither was a statement or his fingerprints taken.
Ncube says it is difficult to heed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call for reconciliation adding he wants to know “why that soldier shot me.”
Ncube demands to be paid US$2.9 million as reparations but his lawyers, Webb, Low and Barry, however, have revised the figure down to US$30 000 broken down as follows: US$10 000 for loss of employment, US$20 000 for pain and suffering.