Father, son kill mentally-challenged man for stealing sadza

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A MASVINGO man and his son were last week sentenced to six and three years in jail, respectively, for killing a 20-year-old man who had stolen food leftovers from their kitchen hut.

Simbarashe Machona and his 16-year-old son tracked down the victim into a bushy area, where they then assaulted him until he died on January 30, 2020 in Chief Chitanga’s area, Mwenezi district.

Masvingo High Court judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze sentenced the father to six years in jail, and the son to three years for murder.

The court heard that the deceased had a history of mental illness.

The State alleged that on January 30, 2020, the now-deceased broke into Machona’s kitchen hut and stole a pot of sadza.

Machona discovered the break-in the following morning and traced the deceased’s footprints into a bushy area and found him fast asleep.

They assaulted him with switches until he died and they dumped his body near the nearby school grounds.

The body was discovered three months later in an advanced state of decomposition.

In his ruling, Justice Mawadze said the right to life was sacrosanct as stipulated in the Constitution.

“One would have expected that the accused persons, especially accused one (Simbarashe), being an adult person would take the now-deceased to the police. Instead, the accused persons decided to take the law into their own hands. They acted as the complainant, the police and the jury as it were in their own case,” Justice Mawadze ruled.

“The moral blameworthiness of Simbarashe is even higher on condition of his age and conduct after deceased’s death. Simbarashe dumped the now deceased’s body near a hill in the bush to conceal the crime he and others had committed. Simbarashe was oblivious to what would happen to the now deceased’s
body.

“He literally left it to decompose in the bush where the deceased’s body could well have been devoured by wild animals. Simbarashe cared less as long as he saved his skin. It never occurred to Simbarashe that the now deceased despite dying such a painful death deserved to be accorded at least a decent burial in line with our morality or ubuntu.”

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