BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
TWO Bulawayo ex-convicts, who robbed an elderly man of his cellphone and clothes before they killed and dumped his naked body in a bushy area, were on Wednesday sentenced to life in jail.
Perfect Sibanda (30) of Four Winds suburb and Vusumuzi Ndebele (35) of Siphambaniso Flats robbed and killed Joseph Godfrey Mataviri (65) only months after they were released from prison under the Presidential Amnesty in March 2018.
Sibanda was previously convicted for unlawful entry while Ndebele had served three years for robbery.
Mataviri’s naked body was found in the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) premises in Mpopoma suburb.
Police officers received a tip-off from members of the public that the two had committed the crime leading to their arrest.
When officers investigating the case raided Sibanda, they found him in possession of the deceased’s jeans, belt and jacket.
He implicated Ndebele.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa convicted the two of murder with actual intent.
Mabhikwa condemned the two accused persons’ to life in jail, saying their actions warranted their permanent removal from society.
“You committed an offence of murder in the course of robbery, which is a very serious offence.
“You killed an innocent, poor man who had done nothing to you, and under normal circumstances you deserved a death sentence,” Mabhikwa said.
“However, due to your ages, as youthful offenders at the time of commission of the offence, I will spare you from capital punishment.
“Accordingly, you are sentenced to undergo life imprisonment.”
Prosecuting, Kudakwashe Jaravaza said on June 5, 2018 at around 8 am, Mataviri left his home and proceeded to his garden at Steeldale industrial area near NRZ, but never returned.
When he left his home, he was wearing a pair of blue jeans, brown t-shirt, a pair of brown safety shoes, a black and white jacket and a Samsung cell phone.
The court was told that when the deceased’s son discovered that his father had not returned home, he went out to look for him in his garden.
“The following morning, Mataviri’s son set out at 6 am to look for his father in the garden.
“When he got to the dust road within the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Mpopoma station yard, his attention was drawn to a group of people among them, police officers,” Jaravaza said.
“He drew closer to the crowd and saw a male adult who was lying naked on the ground in his underwear and upon closer examination he discovered that it was his father.”
According to a post-mortem report, it was concluded that the cause of death was extensive subarachnoid haemorrhage, blunt force trauma and head assault.
Investigations led to the arrest of the two accused persons and subsequent recovery of some of the deceased’s stolen clothes.
In their defence, both accused persons through their lawyers from R Ndlovu and Company and VJ Mpofu and Associates, denied the charges, arguing that they were forced into admitting the charges after police tortured them and severely assaulted them with batons and subjected them to electrocution.