By Leonard Ncube
Six family members in Hwange’s Dete area cheated death when a teenager from their village allegedly torched four huts at their homestead while they were sleeping.
Kelvin Nyathi (18) of Gamba 1 Village under Chief Nekatambe allegedly wanted to kill Mr Edmore Zenzo Mumpande for a yet to be established reason.
Nyathi allegedly torched a bedroom hut in which Mr Mumpande and wife Ms Letwina Mpala (26) were sleeping and another one in which Ms Betani Shoko (32) and her three children Evangelista (13), Coventry (5) and Bhekinkosi aged 18 months were sleeping and two kitchen huts.
The six escaped uninjured but their property valued at about $2 000 was burnt, the court was told.
Nyathi was not asked to plead to six counts of attempted murder and two of malicious damage to property when he appeared before Hwange magistrate Mr Livard Philimon.
The magistrate ordered that Nyathi be examined by two psychiatrists to ascertain his mental state before he can be prosecuted.
Prosecutor Ms Loveness Maseko said Nyathi torched two bedroom huts and two kitchen huts at Mr Mumpande’s homestead in Gamba 1 Village last month.
“On the 11th of October around 11PM the accused proceeded to the complainant Mr Edmore Zenzo Mumpande’s homestead intending to kill him. He found Mr Mumpande and his wife sleeping in a grass thatched bedroom hut while the door was secured from inside with a rope and set it on fire,” said the prosecutor.
Mr Mumpande and his wife woke up because of excessive heat and managed to bolt out after discovering that their hut was on fire.
Nyathi went on to torch the second bedroom where Ms Shoko and her three children were sleeping.
Beds, blankets, electrical gadgets, cellphone handsets and kitchen utensils, among others were burnt.
The following morning, neighbours helped the family to track footprints which led them to Nyathi’s place of residence resulting in his arrest.
Last week another teenager aged 14 also from Hwange district appeared before the same court to answer to five counts of attempted murder after he tried to kill his two grandmothers and three siblings by burning them in a hut because they had not left supper for him. The court suspended passing of sentence and sent the boy for counselling. The Chronicle