Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
TWO Zvishavane villagers, who gang-raped a 51-year-old woman who had her nine-month-old grandchild strapped on her back and brutally murdered her before taking turns to have sex with the corpse, have been sentenced to death by hanging.
The villagers, the court heard, threw the body down a disused mine shaft together with the child crying and still strapped to the body’s back.
Givemore Mutumba (25) and Tatenda Ngwenya (22) both of Chief Mazvihwa’s area, were convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawyo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva on Circuit in Gweru. Passing sentence, Justice Takuva said the duo’s level of cruelty was shocking.
He said the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances and therefore death sentence was the only appropriate punishment.
He said it was shocking that Ngwenya and Mutumba even raped the corpse and thereafter threw the body in a disused mine shaft with the baby still strapped to the back of the body.
“You committed a heinous crime in a horrific manner, your level of cruelty is shocking as you acted with untold brutality.
“The murder was brutal, callous and committed on an innocent elderly woman out of greed and not need. You decided to satisfy your sexual needs on an innocent woman. There was some premeditation and you threw her body down a seven-metre deep shaft while her grandchild was still strapped on her back,” said Justice Takuva.
“Your degree of cruelty in this murder is shocking and such people should not be allowed back in society. The courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of life because this kind of conduct cannot be tolerated. You are both hereby found guilty of murder with constructive intent and you are both sentenced to death by hanging.”
For the State, Mr Samuel Pedzisayi told the court that on December 21, 2017, Ngwenya and Mutumba hatched a plan to rob the deceased of her property. He said the duo proceeded to her homestead armed with a machete and found her preparing to retire to bed around 8:30PM.
At the homestead and in the kitchen, the court heard, were the deceased’s four other grandchildren.
“The accused persons threw stones into the hut. The deceased heard her grandchildren’s cries of help and ran to the kitchen where she blocked the door from opening with her body,” said Mr Pedzisayi.
He said Ngwenya inserted a machete through an opening and forced open the door.
Mr Pedzisayi said the woman and her grandchildren escaped to a neighbour’s homestead.
“The deceased decided to go back to her homestead the same night and she had her nine-month old grandchild strapped to her back. Ngwenya and Mutumba attacked her with a machete and dragged her to a nearby bush before ransacking her home,” he said.
Mr Pedzisayi said acting in common purpose the two accused persons took turns to rape her before and after she died while her grandchild was still strapped to her back.
“They dragged the lifeless body which still had the child strapped to its back and threw it in a seven-metre deep disused mine shaft. The following day around 2AM — a villager heard the cries of the baby from the shaft and retrieved the body of the deceased,” he said.
Mr Pedzisayi said the deceased’s body had multiple bruises on the face and neck, a deep cut on the left side of the forehead and semen on the private parts.
The matter was reported to the police, leading to the arrest of Ngwenya and Mutumba.