By Mashudu Netsianda
Four machete-wielding illegal gold panners allegedly raided a Kwekwe homestead and robbed the owner of cellphones, R220 and $11 before taking turns to rape his wife while he watched helplessly.
The quartet stormed the victims’ home recently armed with machetes and threatened to attack them before robbing them of their money and cellphones. They then tied the husband with a piece of cloth and allegedly took turns to rape his wife.
This emerged when two of the suspects, Onias Masanhiko (20) and Ernest Sibanda (35) approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial. They face armed robbery and rape charges.
Masanhiko and Sibanda, through their lawyers Mavhiringidze and Mashanyare Legal Practitioners, filed an application for bail at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.
In their bail statement, the two applicants are denying the charges, arguing that they were not at the scene of the crime on that particular day.
“It is the applicants’ submission that they had visited their uncle in the area after he had invited them to assist him in his mining activities. The applicants have never been at the complainants’ place of residence or committed the offences on that particular day as they had gone to Battlefields to collect some of their clothes. They were actually taken by surprise when they got arrested for offences that they had no idea of,” said the applicants’ lawyers.
The two accused persons argued that there were no compelling reasons warranting their continued detention. They submitted that there was no evidence by the State that if released on bail, they would abscond due to the gravity of the offence.
“It is submitted that the mere fact that the offences are grievous does not disentitle the applicants from bail if there are no compelling reasons to deny them. It is apparent that the applicants are of fixed abode. In any event, the applicants proffered plausible defences and the court should therefore lean in favour of bail as there are no compelling reasons to dictate otherwise,” argued the lawyers.
Masanhiko and Sibanda said they were proper candidates for bail and offered to strictly adhere to any stipulated bail conditions imposed by the court in the event that they are released on bail.
According to court papers, on September 1 this year, the two men ganged up with Anesu Mpofu (25) and Tarisai Mupundu (37) and went to the complainants’ home in Major Compound in Kwekwe where they force opened the door using machetes.
They stormed the house and found the complainants, a husband and wife, sleeping in their bedroom. They woke up the couple and demanded money amid threats to strike them with machetes.
Out of fear, the victims handed over their cellphones to the accused persons. They assaulted the victims before demanding money. The victims showed the quartet where they kept their money. Mpofu tied the male victim’s hand using a piece of cloth and they took R220 and $11.
After robbing the couple, they force marched the female complainant for about 100 metres where they allegedly took turns to rape her without protection before they fled into the darkness.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of Masanhiko and Sibanda. Their two accomplices are still at large. The Chronicle