Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A MAN from Binga who axed his neighbour to death following a row over lost cattle has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Stanley Muleya (38) of Sinansengwe village in Kariangwe under Chief Siansulu area, struck Madamombe Mudenda (30) with an axe in February this year, accusing him of being a nuisance when he enquired about his lost cattle.
Muleya was convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese.
He will serve an effective 15 years in jail after five years were suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar offence.
In passing sentence, Justice Makonese condemned Muleya’s conduct, saying the courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of human life.
“The accused person has been convicted of a serious offence. The court should however, balance the interests of the accused against the interests of justice and in this regard, the sentence imposed must serve the ends of justice,” said the judge.
He said what aggravated the offence was that the accused person used a lethal weapon.
Justice Makonese said the injuries reflected in the post mortem were evidence of severe and excessive force used by Muleya in attacking his neighbour.
“The deceased suffered a deep wound behind his neck and the vessels of the neck and cervical spine were severed. Such reckless and wanton display of violence is uncalled for. This court has a duty to remind offenders that violence has no place in any civilised community. The loss of human life in the circumstances of this case was unwarranted and the accused person must therefore be handed a sentence that will rehabilitate him,” rule Justice Makonese.
Prosecuting, Ms Memory Munsaka said on February 11 this year at around 6PM, Muleya and his cousin Andrew Muleya were seated outside their homestead at Siansulu when the deceased arrived.
“The deceased arrived at Andrew Muleya’s homestead looking for his lost cattle. The accused person got incensed when Mudenda asked about his cattle which had not returned home for penning. The accused and the deceased exchanged harsh words,” said Ms Munsaka.
The accused person told Mudenda off, saying he should not trouble people about his missing livestock.
“The accused insulted the deceased using foul language during which Mudenda struck Muleya with a log on the shoulder,” said Ms Munsaka.
The court heard that in retaliation, Muleya picked a home-made axe and struck Mudenda behind the neck and he died on the spot.
Soon after committing the offence, Muleya handed himself to the police leading to his arrest. The body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for post-mortem
According to post-mortem results, the cause of death was chop wound, injury on the vessel of the neck and hypovolemic shock.
In his defence, Muleya said he was provoked by the deceased and acted in self-defence.
He was represented by lawyers from the Legal Aid Directorate. — @mashnets