Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A SELF-proclaimed prophet and his nephew who ganged up and robbed two shops at Jalukange Business Centre in Beitbridge District after firing 25 bullets, shooting two people leading to the death of one of them, have each been sentenced to 25 years in jail.
The prophet, Christopher Chamisa (26) and his nephew, Garikai Siziba (19) both of Village 4 Munyamani, Chief Maranda in Mwenezi District armed themselves with an AK56 rifle and raided two shops and went away with $114, US$70 and R11 608.
Chamisa and Siziba were convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese in connection with the death of Mr Dion Muleya (48) of Beitbridge.
In passing sentence, Justice Makonese said although the two accused persons were first offenders who showed remorse, their moral blameworthiness was very high warranting a lengthy prison term.
He condemned the two men’s actions, saying the court had a duty to protect the sanctity of human life.
“The wanton use of violence against fellow human beings should not be condoned and the courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of human life. The accused persons, acting in common purpose, committed the murder in the course of robbery, which was well planned and executed. During the robbery the accused persons fired several shots using an AK56 rifle and the random nature of firing led to the loss of life,” said Justice Makonese.
“They terrorised the patrons and shopkeepers with reckless abandon, acting with great resolve and determination to fulfil their mission. They used violence to subdue their victims.”
Justice Makonese said the sentence should reflect the seriousness of the offence. “It is the court’s view that the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances. In the result, a lengthy prison term is appropriate. Accordingly, the accused persons are sentenced to 25 years in jail each,” ruled the judge.
Prosecuting, Ms Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on May 27 at around 5PM, the pair went to Jalukange general dealer and found the complainant who is the storekeeper at the store, Ms Sibusisiwe Moyo, attending to a customer, Mr Thulani Ndlovu.
They were armed with the rifle and Chamisa stood at the door demanding cash.
Mr Ndlovu asked Chamisa if he was joking but he fired two shots and missed him. He jumped over and joined Ms Moyo behind the counter.
The court heard that Siziba went to the counter where Mr Ndlovu was hiding and demanded cash.
“Fearing for her life, Ms Moyo surrendered R7 518 and $114, which was in a plastic bag. The accused persons left the shop and while outside they indiscriminately fired shots from the veranda during which some patrons were injured,” said Ms Ngwenya.
From there, they stormed Jalukange Special Bar at the same building and confronted Ms Perseculiar Singo who was with Mr Muleya. They shot Mr Muleya in the abdomen while demanding cash from Ms Singo.
Ms Singo tried to escape through the back door and Chamisa fired one shot that hit her in the back but she managed to flee. They ransacked the bar and took a cashbox containing R4 090 and US$70 and fled from the scene.
Ms Singo was admitted to Beitbridge District Hospital while Mr Muleya, who was in a critical condition, was referred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals where he succumbed to the injuries.
According to the post mortem report, the deceased died due to gunshot wound in abdomen, assault and peritonitis.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the two accused persons and the firearm was recovered in a disused well about 500 metres from the scene of the crime. They indicated that they had picked up the firearm in a cave at a mountain in Maranda in Mwenezi.
Chamisa was represented by Mr Task Vhiki and Ms Mary Nyika from Liberty Mcijo and Associates while Ms Nonhlanhla Moyo of SKM Sibanda and Partners appeared for Siziba. — @mashnets.