Four men convicted of robbing and brutally attacking Dr Chris Mushonga, the late husband to Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, in 2009 have been jailed for a total of 240 years.
They were on Tuesday convicted on eight counts of robbery by Harare magistrate William Bhila. Dr Mushonga died due to injuries sustained during the attack.
The court witnessed brief drama when one of the robbers, Makaika Milanzi, collapsed in the dock as judgment was delivered.
Milanzi was convicted on two counts and sentenced to 12 years for each while his accomplices, Stephen Zimowa, Assan Chikwada and Crispen Sibanda, were convicted on six counts with each count attracting 12 years.
The trio received a total of 72 years each of which 24 years were suspended for each one on condition of good behaviour.
The magistrate ruled part of Zimowa, Chikwanda and Sibanda’s sentences would run concurrently and each received an effective jail term of 48 years.
Two other accused, Tendai Jongwe and Antony Khumbula, were found not guilty and acquitted on all counts.
Milanzi, Zimowa, Chikwanda and Sibanda had pleaded not guilty, but magistrate Bhila rebutted this in his judgment saying:
“Why would the accused know where the gun was if they were not the ones who stole it? There is a strong suspicion that all the accused were involved in the attempted murder (before Mushonga died) although none of the witnesses managed to identify the accused.”
The robbers stormed Mushonga’s Mt Pleasant house on the day in question while his wife was out of the country, and ransacked it after disarming a police officer guarding the property.
They handcuffed and force-marched him to the cottage where domestic workers were sleeping.
The robbers attacked Mushonga and left him for dead before making off with a Toyota Prado vehicle and other valuable property after locking their victims in the bedroom.