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2 gold panners jailed 25yrs for gruesome murder

By Grace Nyoni

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi has said the courts are tired of the surge in gruesome murder cases perpetrated by gold panners who do not show remorse or respect for the sanctity of human life.

Sentencing two gold panners Tonderai Ngulube (25) and Nyasha Midzi (28) to 25 years each in prison for the murder of Gift Mukwenda (19) over a woman, Justice Mathonsi said life is God given and should therefore be cherished.

The duo was pleading not guilty.

“Life is a God given gift that should be cherished and it comes once in a lifetime. However, we continue to lose the gift to gold panners who seem to have low esteem for life. It is very shocking that a person can be subjected to such savagery by other human beings who are evil at heart,” he said.

“Violence should be reduced in communities and those who commit crimes like murder should get tough sentences so as to send a message out there. Murder cases display evil of the highest order.”

It was the State case that on December 13, 2016, around 1AM a group of gold panners were drinking beer at Cane Nite Club in Shurugwi in the company of two sisters Sekai and Priscilla Mpofu.

One of the sisters was a girlfriend to Henry Sibangani, a fellow gold panner who is friends to Ngulube and Midzi.

Priscilla went out of the club to meet the deceased Mukwenda whom she was having an affair with.

Sibangani learnt about it, confronted Mukwenda and they started fighting.

The court heard that when Ngulube and Midzi saw Sibangani was being overpowered they teamed up against the deceased and assaulted him.

The trio assaulted Mukwenda using bar stools until he fell on his knees before Ngulube struck his head with the leg of the bar stool.

The leg of the bar stool penetrated Mukwenda’s skull for about three centimetres before Midzi hit on top of the bar stool further causing it to exit the skull through the right side of his forehead.

Mukwenda died on admission to Shurugwi District Hospital.

After committing the offence the trio ran away.

Ngulube and Midzi were later arrested while Sibangani is still at large.

Mr Tafadzwa Mupariwa appeared for the State. The Chronicle