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Nyathi, a director of Amagugu International Culture Centre in Matobo District, was involved in an accident along the Bulawayo-Kezi Road on a rainy day in December and his employee, Tha Lunga, whom he was travelling with, was seriously injured and died hours later at Natisa Clinic.
Plumtree magistrate Livard Philemon fined Nyathi $500 or alternatively four months in jail if he defaults after finding him guilty of culpable homicide.
The 65-year-old historian and writer lost control of his vehicle and it rammed into a tree and prosecutors said he was speeding on a slippery strip road.
Sentencing the historian, magistrate Philemon said Nyathi had been negligent.
“The State through its witness, Inspector Fanuel Mutali who is an accident evaluator, produced exhibits that suggested that Nyathi had been negligent. The defence didn’t have any objections to this piece of evidence which was produced in the form of a sketch plan and evaluation report,” said the magistrate.
“Nyathi had pointed out in his defence that the road was slippery and his vision had been compromised as it was raining. This excuse can’t be entertained because a reasonable driver would have stopped after feeling that they couldn’t negotiate the road properly.”
Philemon said Nyathi failed to take precautionary measures to avoid the accident. He said the evidence which had been presented in court showed that Nyathi had been speeding.
He said in arriving at the sentence, he had considered that Nyathi was a first offender and that the road he was using was not in good condition.
Lison Ncube of James Moyo-Majwabu & Nyoni Legal Practitioners, who represented Nyathi, appealed to the court to be lenient on his client who had driven for the past 33 years with a clean record.
“I pray that the court may take into account that this isn’t an offence which was premeditated. My client also suffered severe injuries as a result of the accident forcing him to be hospitalised for four months. He also took it upon himself to assist in the burial of the deceased,” said the lawyer.
“I also appeal to the court to consider that my client is 65-year-old and that he isn’t in good health. He didn’t conceal any information but rather showed co-operation and assisted police with investigations.”
Prosecuting, Stanley Chinyanganya said the prominent writer committed the offence on December 11 last year.
“Upon reaching the 67km peg along Bulawayo-Kezi Road, Nyathi lost control of the vehicle he was driving and hit a Mopane tree. Lunga, who was a passenger, sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Natisa Clinic where he died whilst admitted,” he said. by Sukulwenkosi Dube