Three members of the Zimbabwe National Army who murdered a senior Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) official, Brown Mwale (40), over taxi fare in Glen Norah, Harare, yesterday escaped capital punishment, but were slapped with a 14-year effective jail term each.
The gunmen, Blessing Nyakwima (29), Nkazimulo Nkomo (29) and Damascus Tafa (28), escaped the hangman’s noose after High Court judge Justice Ester Muremba convicted them of murder with constructive intent.
The soldier’s alleged accomplice, a civilian taxi driver Vitalis Nyakwima, was acquitted after a lengthy trial on Monday this week.
According to the evidence presented in court, Mwale was attacked and killed by the soldiers following a dispute over taxi fare charged by Vitalis on May 4 2012.
The court heard, on the day in question, Mwale had been drinking beer at a night club in Glen Norah B in the company of his friends,
Thulani Gumbo, Amos Mukwena and Mavhuto Bhasikoro, when he later decided to hire a taxi to proceed to his Waterfalls home towards midnight.
Justice Muremba heard that when Mwale and his friends were aboard the taxi, Vitalis charged $5 for the trip sparking a quarrel between the
two men over the amount.
In the ensuing melee, Vitalis called for back-up from his brother Blessing together with their friends, Nkomo and Tafa.
When Blessing, Nkomo and Tafa arrived at the scene, they immediately attacked Mwale and his friends with open hands, clenched fists and booted feet ordering them to disembark from the vehicle.
At that juncture, Gumbo, the court heard, Mukwena and Bhasikoro took to their feet, leaving Mwale at the mercy of his attackers.
The court further heard at some point Blessing, Nkomo and Tafa briefly fled the scene when they spotted police on bicycles patrolling the area.
Mwale’s friends, however, later returned and while they were walking home along Sebakwe Road, the assailants re-emerged and once again attacked the helpless Mwale.
The court heard Mwale was bundled into the taxi which left the scene at high speed driving along High Glen Road and his body was later discovered dumped near an area popularly known as “Pamasimbi” in Glen Norah.
The matter was reported to the police, leading to the assailants’ arrest.