The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Daniel Ne­mukuyu Se­nior Court Re­porter

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.

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