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Tsholotsho brothers who teamed up with another villager and fatally attacked their neighbour with knobkerries, axes and spears have each been sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Similo Ncube (29), Bulisani Ncube (22) and Felix Maphosa (21), all from Mathe Line, were convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi.
The trio ganged up and killed Tinos Ncube (21) in a revenge attack after he and his friends had allegedly assaulted a rival suitor.
In passing sentence, Justice Mathonsi said the three were youthful offenders whose irresponsibility stemmed from immaturity.
“The kind of banditry exhibited by the accused persons on the day in question is alarming indeed. It’s now a norm rather than exception that youthful people roam the neighbourhood and frequent business centres on a daily basis where they spend lengthy periods of time engaged in consuming huge amounts of alcohol and abusing drugs,” said the judge.
Justice Mathonsi said youths have become blood thirsty with no respect for human life.
“Once intoxicated they become menacing, wantonly attacking others and at times causing unnecessary loss of life. They’re arrogant, rude and violent and these courts have repeatedly decried the cancer of violence and alcohol abuse which is tearing our social fabric,” he said.
The judge said the trio deserved a deterrent sentence to protect society.
“Sentence must mirror the revulsion of society against the kind of conduct exhibited by the accused persons. Accordingly, each one of you is sentenced to 15 years imprisonment,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.
Prosecuting, Miss Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on December 23 last year at around 7PM, Tinos and his two cousins, Oba Moyo and Opportunity Dube were on their way to a local tuckshop to wait for their aunt who was coming from South Africa when they met Bruce Ndebele and Rest Moyo.
Moyo and Ndebele were carrying Mthulisi Ncube who had allegedly been assaulted by the three accused persons.
The court heard that the three cousins decided to confront the accused persons over the attack.
“They followed the three accused persons and caught up with them near Tsheni Dam. The accused persons were carrying spears, knives, knobkerries and axes,” said Miss Ngwenya.
Bulisani, Similo and Maphosa spotted Tinos.
The accused persons chased the victims and they caught up with Tinos after he fell down. They struck him four times on the head with an axe, cut off one of his fingers and stabbed him on the back before they dumped his body near Tsheni Dam.
After the brutal attack, the trio fled from the scene leaving Tinos for dead. Passersby found him groaning in pain and rushed him to Tsholotsho District Hospital where he died a few hours later.
Similo, through his lawyer Mr Jonathan Tsvangirai, said Tinos and his cousins ambushed and attacked them.
Bulisani, who was represented by Mr Shepherd Huni, argued that he acted in self-defence in response to the attack by the deceased and his cousins.
Maphosa, through his lawyer, Mr Costa Dube, said although he witnessed the attack, he did not participate in it.—Mashudu Netsianda, source-chronicle