MUSHONGA KILLERS SENTENCED:
THREE men who killed orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chris Mushonga in the course of a robbery nine years ago were on Wednesday sentenced to death.
High Court judge Justice Herbert Chitapi slapped Makaika Milanzi, Antony Kumbula and Stephen Zimowa with death penalty after finding no extenuating circumstances in their case.
“The sentence of the court is therefore that each of the three accused is sentenced to death and the three of them will be returned to custody and the death sentence shall be executed upon each of them according to law,” he said.
“Having considered the aggravating and mitigating factors and the circumstances of the commission of the offence, including time lapse between the arrest of the accused and the completion of the trial and balancing them, the conclusion which the court has reached is that there are no extenuating circumstances in this matter.”
Dr Mushonga was husband to former Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Seven men were initially arrested over the murder, but only the three were found guilty of the heinous offence.
The heavily armed gang stormed the late surgeon’s Mt Pleasant house at midnight, disarmed a police officer guarding the property before brutally assaulting Dr Mushonga, a maid and a family friend.
Dr Mushonga was repeatedly struck on the head with the butt of an AK47 rifle.
He sustained serious head injuries and severe internal bleeding.
In his 40-page judgment, Justice Chitapi said submissions by the trio that there had been an inordinate delay in the prosecution of the murder case warranting a lighter sentence did not hold any water.
“Indeed, there has been a delay of about seven years,” he said. “However, the delay has not been without explanation. The State timeously brought the accused persons to trial for robbery and subsequently murder.
“In between, one of the assessors passed on and the accused demanded a fresh trial . . .”
Zimowa was sentenced to death while still serving a lengthy prison term for robbing the same family.
For armed robbery, Zimowa was convicted together with two others — Asani Chikwanda and Crispen Sibanda, who were, however, cleared of the murder charge.