Merjury Magaya Midlands Bureau
Three MDC hooligans who killed a Zanu-PF supporter who was celebrating the victory of the revolutionary party in the 2008 Presidential elections have been sentenced to a combined 10 years in jail after they were convicted of culpable homicide.
The three — Cleopas Ngwenya (70), Owen Ngwenya (37) and Gilbert Nkomo (65) — all of Jamu village under Chief Chireya in Gokwe North, appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva sitting in Gweru, facing culpable homicide charges.
They were convicted on their own plea and Ngwenya and Nkomo were sentenced to four years each that were wholly suspended on condition of good behaviour while Owen was sentenced to two years of which one was also suspended on condition of good behaviour.
In passing the sentence, Justice Takuva said in view of their age groups the first and third convicts were now in the twilight of their lives therefore it would not serve any purpose to give them a custodial sentence.
He said in the same vein, the second accused person should not get a sentence which is substantially different from that imposed on his co-accused persons.
Justice Takuva said the court also considered the accused persons were prejudiced by the delay in prosecution by the State which took 11 years to have the matter tried.
He said the court also considered that the offence was committed in 2008 at the height of political tension.
“In passing the sentence the court considered that the accused persons are first offenders and they pleaded guilty. The accused persons also have families to look after. The first accused person is 70 years old while the second accused person is now 65 years. Both are in the twilight of their lives.
“The offence was committed as a result of political violence. The deceased was a Zanu-PF member and the accused persons are MDC supporters. It was committed during the 2008 harmonised elections when the political environment was highly charged.
“The deceased person was celebrating his party’s victory together with his colleagues. We considered that he was aggressive,” he said.
It was the State’s case that on June 30, 2008 in Jamu village in Gokwe North, the deceased went to the Ngwenya’s homestead singing revolutionary parties denouncing him.
The deceased and his colleagues, who were armed with knobkerries also demanded that Ngwenya and his family vacate their homestead.
A fight ensued resulting in the deceased being fatally assaulted.