By Tatenda Chitagu

MASVINGO High Court judge Garainesu Mawadze has expressed grave concern over the upsurge in machete murder cases flooding the courts.

Justice Mawadze, without giving statistics, said the high number of murder cases committed by machete gangs in Kwekwe were worrisome.

“The court is inundated with Kwekwe machete murder suspects seeking bail. I am not sure why this is the case, but I want to register my displeasure with that,” he said.

Justice Mawadze was responding to a bail application by two Kwekwe gold panners, Edmore Phiri (34) and his brother, Tatenda Phiri (29), accused of murdering Brilliant Dube by hacking him with machetes and striking him with an axe.

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It is the State’s case that on January 1 at around 10am, the two accused, in the company of five accomplices still at large, drove to Torwood Shopping Centre where they met the now-deceased who was drinking beer with his brothers.

The two groups, according to court papers, had differences emanating from previous clashes. Violence erupted and Dube sustained severe injuries all over the body and died on the way to hospital.

The accused’s lawyer, Tafadzwa Mbwachena of Maboke, Ruvengo and Partners, said his clients were not a flight risk as they handed themselves over to the police when told that they were being sought.

The State opposed bail arguing that the two were nomads who moved around the country looking for gold and were likely to abscond or threaten witnesses given that they belonged to a violent group of panners.

Justice Mawadze denied them bail on grounds that they were a flight risk.

“They allegedly committed the crime on January 1 and then disappeared from the scene. They were then arrested after two weeks. Therefore, the State’s application to deny them bail is strong and I dismiss their application for bail,” Justice Mawadze ruled.