By Mashudu Netsianda
The Supreme Court has set aside the conviction and sentence of two Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers who ordered a Zambian man to swim across Zambezi River with his four-year-old son on his back resulting in them drowning.
Jefrey Munkuli (39) and Benjamin Nhidza (38) were punishing Abel Ngandu who was aged 30 and his countrymen for poaching fish on the Zimbabwean side of the river.
They arrested Ngandu and took away a canoe, fishing nets and fish before ordering them to swim back to their country.
Ngandu had gone fishing with his little son Dennis. The minor slipped off his father’s back as the two were being swept downstream.
Munkuli and Nhidza, who were initially facing a murder charge, were convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa during a court circuit in Hwange.
They were sentenced to 12 years each of which four years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
Aggrieved by Justice Mabhikwa’s ruling, Munkuli and Nhidza, through their lawyers Chinongwenya and Zhangazha Legal Practitioners filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging their conviction and sentence.
In papers before the court, they cited the State as a respondent.
Justice Antonia Guvava, who was sitting with Justices Tendai Uchena and Alphas Chitakunye during a Supreme Court circuit in Bulawayo, upheld the appeal. The Chronicle