Chinese Opens Fire on Employees in Zimbabwe over Wage Dispute
Zimbabweans are up in arms against a Chinese national who shot an employee on both legs and injured another over a salary dispute.
The incident occurred in the small town of Gweru (some 300km from the capital) on Sunday June 21. It has left the community in shock with many people from all over the country calling the attack racist.
Zhang Xuelin, a manager at Reden mine, shot Kenneth Tachiona on both legs while another employee was grazed by a bullet. This followed an altercation over salaries.
Tachiona is recovering in a private hospital in Gweru. The video of the shooting went viral on Sunday evening causing a public outcry over the cruel act which could have been settled through proper negotiations.
The country's largest labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has accused the government of selling the country to China.
"Now the Chinese do as they please and illtreat Zimbabwean workers in our own country because they know we have no protection from the government," ZCTU said in a statement.
The body questioned why a foreigner could own a gun and even take it to work.
"Everything is now wrong in this country. We are under colonialism again," the ZCTU alarmed.
There have been many reports of Chinese nationals ill-treating local employees and paying them a pittance. The Zimbabwe Miners Federation said it was concerned about the incident and urged government to introduce stiffer laws to protect locals from abuse by Chinese nationals.
"They are taking advantage of our lax laws to abuse workers. We have many reports of Chinese nationals abusing local workers something that should not be tolerated," Spokesperson for the Miners Federation, Mr. Dosman Mangisi said, adding that it was not fair that Zimbabweans were treated as second-class in their own country.
"This man must be deported,” the Spokesperson fumed.
Meantime, Chinese officials from the mine have apologized and promised to foot hospital bills for the injured victims and pay compensation. The Chinese community in Gweru distanced themselves from the incident saying it did not reflect their behaviour.
“What the Chinese employer did is personal behaviour and does not reflect the behaviour of us all as the Chinese community,” a community representative said.
The Chinese Embassy in Harare also issued a statement saying they were troubled by the incident and called for "transparent" investigations by police. The embassy said it valued its relationship with Zimbabwe.
National Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi while confirming the incident, would not shed more light on the matter.
It is alleged that the accused Chinese national was being held at Gweru central police station. Timescape Magazine has not independently confirmed this.