By Patrick Chitumba
The Bulawayo High Court will be sitting in circuit in Gweru for two weeks to deal with 16 murder cases, mostly involving violence in the artisanal gold mining sector.
Midlands provincial prosecutor Mr Samuel Pedzisayi said the 16 murder cases will be heard before Justice Martin Makonese and assessors.
Mr Pedzisayi said the murder cases involved 22 accused persons, who allegedly engaged in deadly fights over gold claims and crimes of passion.
He said one of the main cases was of a woman from Mberengwa, who allegedly paid thugs $200 to kill her lover.
Chenjerai Zhou (37) and Tawonganei Shoko (29), acting on the orders of Loice Mahlamvana (39), allegedly fatally assaulted Munakiishe Chinyoka (42) and burnt his body beyond recognition before dumping his remains in a dam.
Mr Pedzisayi said Mahlamvana and Chinyoka were lovers before their relationship turned sour resulting in her allegedly hiring thugs to kill him.
“In November 2017, Mahlamvana allegedly connived with Zhou and Shoko to kill the Chinyoka. Mahlamvana told the two that Chinyoka was now bothering her,” said Mr Pedzisayi.
“She allegedly paid Zhou and Shoko $100 each.”
He said acting in cahoots, Zhou and Shoko, who were both Chinyoka’s friends, allegedly entered Chinyoka’s house as he was about to sleep and blindfolded him with a blanket before striking him with a hoe handle.
“Zhou and Shoko dumped Chinyoka’s body in a bush in a bid to conceal evidence. They allegedly agreed to dispose of the body by dousing it with petrol and burning it. Mahlamvana bought the fuel. The remains were dumped in Mupandashango Dam,” he said.
On December 5, 2017, the remains were discovered floating by a passer-by who alerted the police.
The remains were taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for a post-mortem.
Investigations led to the arrest of the accused persons.
In another case, a Shurugwi man allegedly broke into a tuckshop, raped and murdered the 16-year-old attendant, Marvellous Dawurike.
Thereafter, he allegedly dragged the body out of the building, doused it with engine oil before setting it on fire. Brighton Mahara (26) then allegedly stole groceries worth $587 and a radio from the tuckshop.
He allegedly proceeded to Gweru where he gave the groceries to his wife.
He was arrested in Shurugwi following a tip-off and was found in possession of the stolen radio and the deceased’s identity card. The Herald