By Leonard Ncube
A mine worker in Inyathi who struck a patron with a stone at a bar in a dispute over 20 cents has been sentenced to 17 years in jail for murder. Foreman Mangena (42) of Badala Village 3 in Inyathi was arrested with 11 other accomplices following the murder of Tinashe Chikwiri who was aged 26 last year in June.
Mangena was found guilty of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva who was on circuit in Hwange last week.
The 11 accomplices Washington Moyo (25), Meluleki Sibanda (21), Mandlenkosi Ndlovu (21), Prosper Ngwenya (22), Bongani Ngwenya (30), Dumile Moyo (21), Jonathan Madinga Nyathi (60), Tensen Moyo (31), Luckson Ngwenya (32), Nkosiyazi Ngwenya (18) and Khulekani Nkomo (32), all from Inyathi were found not guilty and discharged at the close of the State case for lack of evidence.
Sentencing Mangena, Justice Takuva castigated gangsterism and vigilante conduct saying this should stop.
“Provocation by the deceased is a mitigation factor but you should have dealt with him in a better way than to cause unnecessary loss of life.
“You were not employed to kill hence there was no need to throw stones if deceased was running away but you could have apprehended and taken him to police. People go to beer drinks for merrymaking but this issue of becoming a nuisance after getting drunk should be nipped in the bud,” said Justice Takuva before slapping Mangena with 17 years in prison.
The murder took place at Zakheyo Sports Bar owned by Mr Zebron Ngwenya at Mahamba Business Centre on June 27 last year.
Mangena and the 11 who were found not guilty were all employed by Mr Ngwenya at his mine in Inyathi.
Prosecuting, Ms Memory Munsaka said Chikwiri had a misunderstanding with Ms Loraine Mpofu who was a bar lady over 20 cents change which he had left when he bought opaque beer earlier.
“The now deceased entered the bar and grabbed Ms Mpofu’s hand demanding his change and she screamed for help. Mangena stood and got hold of the deceased by the belt and pushed him out of the bar. The other accused joined and started assaulting deceased with fists while also kicking him,” said the prosecutor.
Chikwiri managed to escape and fled towards another bar but was hit with a stone on the head and fell to the ground. The court was told that some patrons restrained the gang from assaulting Chikwiri but Mangena continued kicking him and punching him as he lay helpless on the ground.
An injured Chikwiri was rushed to Inyathi District Hospital where he was transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo.
He died the following day due to multiple injuries including a deep cut on the head and upper lip. A report was made to the police leading to arrest of the accused.
Mr Nqobile Sithole of Ncube Attorneys represented Mangena pro deo. – The Chronicle