When Zesa cables bring sorrow


“Mum where am I? I want my school uniform; I want to go to school. Don’t forget to give me transport money.” Those were the last words Takudzwa Nyandoro (10) spoke before he passed away at Parirenyatwa Hospital in March last year.

Report by Cynthia R Matonhodze, Multimedia Producer

His death is one of the sad cases where Zesa is sucked in charged with negligence. The trauma emanating from his death has affected his mother’s life so much that she has become a serious hypertension victim. Medical experts fear that her condition may result in a stroke or sudden death.

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His mother, Constance Sinachinga, has failed to get over the loss of her son. She remembers, as if it was yesterday, the day her son fell into a pit of unprotected live Zesa cables that sent massive electricity through his small body.  The pit, situated at the corner of Samora Machel Avenue and Leitrim Crescent, had been dug and left unsealed with no warning sign for three months.

Constance Sinanchinga lost her son when he fell into a pit of unprotected live Zesa cables last year. She is now suing the power utility supplier for half a million. All pictures by Cynthia R Matonhodze
Constance Sinanchinga lost her son when he fell into a pit of unprotected live Zesa cables last year. She is now suing the power utility supplier for half a million. All pictures by Cynthia R Matonhodze

“They (Takudzwa and his elder  brother Tafadzwa) were not going to school that day because their teachers had gone to bury a colleague so I just assumed that they were at home when I got to work,” Constance Sinachinga (45) explains the events of that fateful morning as she looks into the distance.

With her hands nervously folded on her lap she continues . . .“I got a call and hurried to the scene to find a gathering and my son Tafadzwa tearing through the crowd rushing towards me crying and screaming hysterically: “Mum, Takudzwa is dead, he is dead. I just fell . . .”

Takudzwa’s young body survived the electric shock for only a few hours. He underwent surgery and was given almost 13 IV drips until he breathed his last.

In happier times... Takudzwa and his mother pose for a photo.
In happier times… Takudzwa and his mother pose for a photo.

“I prayed, cried and waited for him to be better. When he regained consciousness and spoke to me, I thanked God for his mercy. I told myself that even if it meant that he became paralysed I would still love him, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

After the tragedy struck, Zesa quickly sealed the pit, offered $300 towards funeral expenses and only covered Takudzwa’s medical expenses after his mother produced stamp-certified receipts from the hospital.

The power utility denied liability for the accident saying that they had not dug the pit in the first place.

Constance, through her lawyer Belinda Chinowawa from Zimbabwe Lawyer’s for Human Rights (ZLHR), filed summons at the High Court last November demanding half a million dollars in compensation and still awaits a date to be set down for the pre-trail conference.

Due to the severe emotional and psychological trauma that she suffered on hearing of her son's accident, Constance was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Due to the severe emotional and psychological trauma that she suffered on hearing of her son’s accident, Constance was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Speaking on the incident Belinda Chinowawa commented:  “As the sole transmitter and distributor of electricity in Zimbabwe, Zesa owes a duty of care to the public and should be called to account when its negligence results in the loss of life.”

For Constance it has been a hard 17 months of trauma. She suffered severe emotional shock and psychological and emotional trauma at the loss of her son which led to her being diagnosed with hypertension.

“I cry every day when I think about my son,” she says, holding back tears. “I cry . . . it hurts . . . I wonder where he would have been . . . when I see other boys his age.”

Just last week, she was hospitalised when her blood pressure shot up to 146 over 98 and her pulse shot to 110 beats per minute.

A local medical doctor assessed: “If blood pressure is not lowered, she has an elevated risk of a heart attack (a leading cause of death in women), and stroke (possibly paralysis, loss of bowel/bladder function, sensory and motor functions, and change in personality. It can also cause blindness.”

Constance says she often wishes that it had been her who had fallen in the pit.

Even her son Tafadzwa is still traumatised by what he witnessed. He has developed sleeping disorder and constantly wakes up at night saying that he was talking to Takudzwa or that they were playing together outside. When that happens he doesn’t sleep waiting for his little brother to show up again, but obviously he does not.

It is one of the sad stories of how Zesa’s negligence has left a deep scar in the lives of many Zimbabweans.

A few months back we reported the story of Nyasha Koroka, a Banket woman whose left arm had to be amputated after she was electrocuted by a dangling Zesa cable in 2010.

Recently, a Harare lawyer Tapiwanashe Kujinga, approached her for pro bono legal representation after NewsDay published her story.

With his help the power utility has, through its insurance company, paid for her medical expenses to the tune of $1 475 on compassionate grounds. The bills are for cataracts that she claims developed due to the accident.

Nyasha has also been assessed for disability, and she was diagnosed at 50%. Her lawyer is preparing to file summons to claim compensation.

Zesa public relations officer Fullard Gwasira said, “It is regrettable that someone can lose an arm or even a life because of our products. However, as a power utility company we do not directly compensate individuals. We compensate through our insurers who are in turn guided by investigations to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether to award compensation or not.”


  1. Ndinoti zorora munin’ina zvinhu zvinhogwadza chose wakaenda zvimwe ndiwe waizova president vamagwana .Kana ZESA ichiti haisi hosva yavo inorevei chokutanga chakatora munin’ina uyu magetsi muridzi wawo ndiani ZESA so ngavarege kutaura zvokupenga dai mutongi gava akapa mutongo wakarerekera kuna amai vedu kwete mbavha dzinofunga kuguta voga vachikangamwa maSafety precaution measures avonofanira kutora . Mutongi gava betserai amai vawane mari chero zvisingadzosi munin’ina wedu asi kumutsa veZESA vazive basa rafa . Kuno Joni tinoona ESKOM ichikurudzira vanhu vachenjere magetsi hameno mbavha dzeZESA dzinozviitawo here

  2. ZESA must be made to pay heavily for their negligence. ZESA takes the life of people for granted and try to use technical jargon to evade clear cases of negligence. If they cant manage electricity issues let them leave this business to more competent hands

  3. Negligence is one of the biggest cause of death in Zimbabwe. People are dying from manageable strokes simply because of negligence from greedy health service providers. Unfortunately this case is going to open a flood gate of many other compensation cases … Zesa gets paid for services that it does not really provide … and I really do not have sympathy for them.

    Infact $500 000 is small change… I would suggest a few millions to help them understand the importance of Safety..

  4. Zesa should pay compensation but the amount should be fair such that it doesn’t compromise their ability to deliver services. After all, the lives of those on life support in hospital are at risk because of power cuts as well.

    Instead, there should be a focus on bringing criminal negligence charges against the officers responsible. Whoever was supervising that work but left the pit uncovered should face the full rath of the criminal law. That would motivate Zesa to be more responsible without adversely affecting the operations of the entire organization.


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