25 years jail for herds­man who killed teenager in fight over shovel

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Lin­dani Dube

A HERDS­MAN (22) from Nkayi was sen­tenced to 25 years in jail for fa­tally knif­ing a school­boy (16), pierc­ing his heart in a dis­pute over the own­er­ship of a shovel.

Mthabisi Ndlovu of Gwamba Vil­lage had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of cul­pa­ble homi­cide be­fore Bu­l­awayo High Court judge, Jus­tice Fran­cis Bere on cir­cuit in Hwange but was con­victed of mur­der with ac­tual in­tent for killing Kidron Ma­dia.

His lawyer, Knowl­edge Din­gani of Ml­weli Ndlovu and As­so­ci­ates, was forced to ditch him be­cause Ndlovu changed his orig­i­nal de­fence ac­count when he took to the stand.

The lawyer, in light of the con­tra­dict­ing ev­i­dence Ndlovu pre­sented, was forced to con­cede the trial was a waste of the court’s time.

Ndlovu, who moved to Tsholot­sho to look af­ter cat­tle, ini­tially de­nied own­ing the knife that was used to kill Ma­dia.

He said the mur­der was an ac­ci­dent that re­sulted as he tried to flee when Ma­dia— a pupil at Mathula Sec­ondary School in Tsholot­sho — charged at him in a dark hut.

“Ma­dia pro­duced a knife. It was dark but I heard a click and re­alised it was a knife be­ing opened. I grabbed him and took the knife away. I reached for the door that was not open­ing while hold­ing the weapon with my left hand and I stabbed Ma­dia by mis­take,” said Ndlovu.

He later changed his state­ment and said he had been drunk car­ry­ing a knife in his pocket for pro­tec­tion from a death threat he had re­ceived from Ma­dia.

“At the river, Ma­dia said I would ei­ther kill him or he would kill me. Po­lice of­fi­cers beat me up so I did not men­tion the threats in my po­lice state­ment. They forced me to sum­marise my ac­count,” said Ndlovu.

Dur­ing trial, Jus­tice Bere told Ndlovu “You are a stub­born young man who is un­re­pen­tant. You are giv­ing us a con­trary im­pres­sion. If you mur­dered the boy by mis­take why are you try­ing to bring up cul­pa­ble homi­cide?”

Pros­e­cut­ing, Mem­ory Mun­saka told the court that on June 11, 2016 at about 9AM, Ndlovu and Ma­dia had a fall­out over the own­er­ship of a shovel.

“The mis­un­der­stand­ing took place at Man­zam­nyama River. On the same day at around 8PM Ma­dia went to his cousin Bright Ndlovu’s home where Mthabisi Ndlovu also ap­peared and pur­sued the shovel dis­pute be­fore pulling out a knife from his trousers to stab Ma­dia on the ribs,” said Mr Mun­saka.

Ndlovu im­me­di­ately fled the scene as Ma­dia help­lessly stag­gered out of the bed­room hut, fell on the ground and died, the court heard.

It also emerged in court that Ndlovu had taken the mur­der weapon and stored it in his home af­ter com­mit­ting the mur­der. In­ves­ti­ga­tors re­cov­ered it on a sofa.

Ma­dia’s cousin Bright (17) from Mkhono line in Tsholot­sho, cor­rob­o­rated the State’s case.

In pass­ing sen­tence Jus­tice Bere said the choice of weapon showed in­tent, cal­cu­la­tion and a pre­med­i­tated, metic­u­lous killing.

“Us­ing such a weapon close to the chest shows the ac­cused in­tended to kill the young boy.

“Your con­duct and ap­proach while con­fronting Ma­dia re­flects pre­med­i­ta­tion as you en­tered a room where you were not in­vited to deal ef­fec­tively with the tar­get. The po­lice state­ment you gave also shows the same. The stab­bing caused rup­tur­ing of the heart as the force used in re­la­tion to the size of the weapon shows that you had cal­cu­lated your ac­tions,” Jus­tice Bere said.

He said de­spite the need to treat him with le­niency as a first of­fender, there was a need to give young­sters like Ndlovu who are dan­ger­ous to so­ci­ety, lengthy sen­tences.

He said they would use the time in prison to ma­ture and re­turn to main­stream so­ci­ety as use­ful mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

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