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Tsholotsho murder: Duo seeks bail

By Mashudu Netsianda

Two men from Tsholotsho, who ganged up with an accomplice and allegedly axed a rival to death for “straying” into their territory and snatching girls in their village, have approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial.

gavelcourt.jpgLawrence Gumede (25) and Mthokozisi Dube (25), through their lawyers Joel Pincus Konson and Wolhuter Legal Practitioners, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.

Gumede and Dube, who are both facing a murder charge, allegedly ganged up with their friend Langton Moyo (23) and fatally attacked the deceased Sifiso Ncube with axes, stones and a knobkerrie in a fight over girls from their village.

The deceased was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital where he later died.

The incident occurred on April 18 this year at Akhona Bottle Store at Magumundwini Business Centre in Tsholotsho.

In their bail statement, Gumede and Dube are denying both charges, arguing they were victims of an attack which ensued while they were drinking beer.They further argued that there were no compelling reasons warranting their continued detention.

They dismissed the State’s assertion that if granted bail they would abscond, arguing that the State has the onus to prove them guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

As part of the bail conditions, the two applicants are offering to pay RTGS$100 bail each and to report at Bamba Police Station twice a week as well as not to interfere with State witnesses. The State, which is being represented by Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza, is opposing the application, arguing that due to the seriousness of the offences, Gumede and Dube are likely to abscond if released on bail.

“While it is accepted that the seriousness of the charge on its own is not enough ground to deny the accused persons bail, notice should be taken to the fact that this offence was committed needlessly and during the day and an axe which was used to commit the offence was recovered from the applicants, making the State case quite strong,” said Mr Jaravaza.

He said the two men were involved in illegal border trading hence if granted bail, they were likely to abscond.

“The applicants are young persons and according to the investigating officer they earn a living through illegal border trading and it becomes apparent that they have means and ties to abscond the jurisdiction of the court if released on bail. It is my humble view that the State case is quite strong such that the applicants may be tempted to abscond. Wherefore the respondent prays that the application for bail pending trial be dismissed,” said Mr Jaravaza.

In papers before the court, it is alleged that on April 18 this year, Gumede, Dube and the deceased were among a group of about 17 patrons who were drinking beer at Akhona Bottle Store. They confronted the deceased and demanded to know why he had come to their area with his friends from neighbouring Mbalibali village to snatch their girlfriends.

An altercation ensued during which the two men allegedly ganged up with Moyo and indiscriminately attacked Mr Ncube with stones, axes and knobkerries. Moyo sustained severe head injuries and was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital where he later died. The Chronicle