Two men sentenced to life in prison for murder

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Masvingo (New Ziana) –The High Court in Masvingo on Friday sentenced to life in prison, two men who gruesomely murdered a man for demanding his US$4.50 change after he bought a twist of dagga from one of them.

Justice Garainesu Mawadze sitting with assessors Mavis Chademana and Graeme Nish convicted Adonia Moyo (28) of Chimombe village, chief Chavarika, Zaka, and Elias Chimbuya (26) of 6043 Victoria Ranch, Masvingo of murder with actual intent.

Moyo and Chimbuya, who pleaded not guilty to the crime but were convicted after a full trial, also stole two smart phones from their victim.

Allegations were that the two murdered 35 year old Tafadzwa Chiumba on July 15 last year outside Mombasa Dunira Mall in Victoria Ranch, by crushing his head with 17 pieces of cement bricks until his brains were exposed, and stabbing him several times all over his body including on the neck and chest.

In passing sentence, Justice Mawadze said the brutality of the attack on Chiumba was nerve wrecking as shown by the pictures of the murder scene that the police submitted to the court.

He said the court had searched high and low to try and figure out what had driven the two men to commit such a heinous crime and to find an appropriate sentence.

“I will grudgingly stay the death penalty,” he said.

“The inhuman conduct is unbelievable, even animals slaughtered for meat are not killed in such a manner. The deceased had not committed any crime. The least he had done was to buy dagga from you and paid you for it. If he had wronged you, the least you should have done was to slap him or flee from him as you claimed.”

Justice Mawadze said Chiumba died a painful death and the lack of contrition on the part of Moyo and Chimbuya was shocking, and made it difficult for the court to even consider that they could have been drunk from a combination of alcohol and dagga.

The judge called on the authorities to seriously look into the issue of drug abuse considering that such heinous crimes were being committed by young people.
Chiumba sold snooker tokens at the bar and had left home going to work in the afternoon but was never to return, after being attacked by Moyo who worked at the complex as a cook, while his friend, Chimbuya sold mbanje at the business centre.

Trouble started after Chiumba bought a US$0.50 twist of mbanje from Chimbuya and paid with a US$5 note.

Chimbuya and Moyo then refused to give him his US$4. 50 change, resulting in a misunderstanding as Chiumba demanded his change.

Moyo and Chimbuya then attacked Chiumba by the gate to the complex before dragging him to a nearby field where they hit him with 17 pieces of cement bricks leaving him for dead.

The two friends later decided to go back and finish off Chiumba with Moyo providing the 15 cm knife with which Chimbuya used to cut him on the throat and stab him in the chest.

They then stole his two smart phone handsets.

Chiumba’s body was discovered the following morning and police were called.

Following investigations, the police arrested Moyo and recovered one of Chiumba’s smart phones, Buddie line and some blood stained clothes.

Moyo then implicated Chimbuya and he was also arrested.

In their defence, Moyo and Chimbuya agreed to most of the facts as presented by the State that was represented by Edwin Mbavarira, but said they did not know how Chiumba later died as they had left him outside the Mombasa Dunira complex and ran away.

Moyo and Chimbuya were represented by Calisto Mutema of Revengo and Maboke Legal Practitioners, who struggled to even find what to say in mitigation and extenuation other than that the two were young men who had realised the folly of their violent action.

Mutema asked that the court consider a sentence of between 15 and 20 years, prompting one of the assessors to question how he could come up with such a suggestion.

In aggravation, Mbavarira said the death sentence would have been more appropriate had it was not been for the debate around the penalty, with many pushing for its abolition from the country’s statutes.

He then suggested the life sentence which the court eventually agreed to.
New Ziana

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