By Leonard Ncube
A Binga man who punched his cousin to death following a misunderstanding over a chicken has been sentenced to five years in jail. Makhandeni Lovemore Dube (30) from Sianungu Village and his cousin who is now late, Sibangani Mzamba, were both drunk after consuming traditional beer while at a neighbour’s homestead.
Dube and Mzamba had a misunderstanding when Muzamba demanded payment for his chicken which the former had taken and failed to pay for.
The two fought on the way to their homesteads after finishing the thatching job at their neighbour’s homestead where they had also been drinking beer.
Dube pleaded guilty to culpable homicide when he appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese on circuit in Hwange.
Dube was initially charged with murder which was later altered to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
The charges came after he fatally discharged a killer blow on the 34-year-old cousin last year in August.Justice Makonese, with Messrs Tolani Elias Ndlovu and Jongilizwe Harold Sobantu agreeing as assessors, sentenced Dube to five years before suspending one year on condition of good behaviour within five years.
The judge said the issue over a chicken was too trivial to cause loss of life.
“The court considered that both the accused and deceased were intoxicated and that the accused had spent seven months in remand prison before this trial which is a punishment on its own. By pleading guilty to culpable homicide he showed remorse.
“However, the accused committed a serious offence where a life was lost for a simple chicken. The matter was too trivial to cause death. The accused acted irrationally and used excessive force on the deceased hence his conduct is deplorable which means that his moral blameworthiness is very high,” said Justice Makonese.
Prosecuting, Mrs Charlene Gorerino said Dube, who is a builder, was thatching Mr Godfrey Tshuma’s hut with other villagers on August 31 last year.
They were all drinking traditional beer while working, the court was told.
“After the work, they left for another beer drink at a neighbour’s place. Along the way Mzamba asked for payment for his chicken and Dube told him that he was going to pay him,” said Mrs Gorerino.
She said a misunderstanding ensued between the two and they were restrained by Mr Tshuma.
The court heard that Mr Tshuma later left the two on their way as he went in a different direction.
The misunderstanding between Dube and his cousin continued and he punched him once.
Dube rendered first aid by pouring water on his cousin as he lay unconscious on the ground.
He was later joined by Mr Tshuma who also poured water on the now deceased.
Mzamba was later reported dead due to the blow by Dube. A report was made to the police leading to Dube’s arrest.
Mr Njabulo Ndlovu, of Ndove Museta represented Dube pro deo. The Chronicle