A Bulawayo High Court judge has slammed the gangster-style murder of a Tsholotsho man following a misunderstanding over an unfavourable prophecy, before sentencing him to 28 years in prison.
Conillius Vundla (33) of Bhulalamenzi Line in Tsholotsho will also serve a further 18 months for assault.
Six months of the assault sentence were conditionally suspended. The sentences will run concurrently.
Vundla and three accomplices, that are still at large, went on a rampage and attacked Chance Mpala and Pilot Moyo, who were aged 35 and 50 years respectively. The murder victim was assaulted with logs following a misunderstanding over an undisclosed prophecy.
“There is an element of gangsterism in that you teamed up against deceased and assaulted him. The courts must ensure that this tendency of gangsters roaming around business centres terrorising villagers should stop,” Justice Maxwell Takuva said.
“People should go to these places for merry making, not to be butchered. Courts must ensure that this tendency of gangsters roaming around business centres terrorising villagers should stop. You have not shown remorse and your defence has been a pack of lies calculated at misleading the court to acquit you.”
Vundla, who was facing two separate charges, was convicted of murder with actual intent.
It was the State’s case that on December 17 last year at around 11pm, Vundla, together with Ndumba Ncube, Makhiwa Tshuma and Alton Tshuma — who are on the run — were drinking beer under a makeshift shade at Madlangombe business centre in Tsholotsho.
Mpala, Moyo and Ndlovu were also drinking opaque beer. Ndlovu approached Vundla and his three accomplices and started prophesying over Ncube without his consent.
Irritated, Ncube assaulted Ndlovu with clenched fists. Vundla, Makhiwa and Alton also joined the fray.
Following the assault, Mpala made a comment regarding the issue and a misunderstanding arose between him, Vundla and his three accomplices. Mpala stood up to light his cigarette in a nearby kitchen and Vundla followed him before dragging him to where his colleagues were seated.
The four armed themselves with logs and assaulted Mpala while Alton assaulted the now deceased with fists and booted feet.
Sensing danger, Moyo escaped but Vundla gave chase and caught up with him before dragging him back and the assault continued. Moyo attempted to flee again, but Vundla and Ncube caught up with him and the assault went on.
Barking dogs came charging towards the scene and Vundla and his accomplices fled.
Moyo sought medical treatment at Madlangombe Clinic, but Mpala was found bleeding from the head the following morning by a passer-by a few metres from Jabulani Bottle store.
He was rushed to Tsholotsho District Hospital where he was referred to Mpilo. He succumbed to the injuries on December 21 2017. Vundla was subsequently arrested. However, his three accomplices are believed to have skipped the country.
Memory Munsaka appeared for the State.
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