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Ailing mother of August 1 army shooting victim yet to know about son’s death

By Staff Reporter

THE siblings of a 48-year-old man who was shot twice and killed by the army during the August 1 post-electoral violence are yet to tell their near incapacitated mother of his son’s death fearing “another funeral”.

An unemployed Gavin Dean Charles was shot on the arm and pelvis by two bullets at Harare’s fourth street when soldiers were dispatched to quell the disturbances.

He was among six less fortunate protesters and bystanders who were killed during the skirmishes.

Presenting oral evidence before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the violence, a tearful Elizabeth Robertson, elder sister to Gavin, said the family got to know about Gabriel’s death when images of his dead body started circulating on social media.

“Through social media, a lot of pictures were posted and we managed to identify that my brother was dead but at the time I didn’t know he was dead,” she said.

“He had been shot twice; once in the arm and once in the pelvis and the pelvis shot is what killed him and he was in Fourth Street at the time.”

She added, “Gabriel was born 7 months premature. I was 8 years old when he came home so we were all gentle around him. So he grew up to be gentle.

“He believed in God and he just wanted a better life.

“He was harmless and to be shot twice unarmed…the pain has been indescribable.

“My mum is not well. She has had a stroke five years (ago) and never recovered. She is not aware of his (Gabriel) death. If we tell her, we will kill her and we are not ready for another funeral. So my family and I have suffered on our own it’s been very difficult.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described the deaths as regrettable but has refused to take the blame for the killings.

His MDC opponents insist that as commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe defence Forces, he was entirely responsible for the conduct of his subordinates.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa