Drug peddlers sentenced to life imprisonment for “agent’s” murder

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By Staff Reporter

High Court judge, Justice Lucy Mungwari has sentenced two drug dealers Wallen Mupunga and Masimba Makoto to life in prison for killing their agent for stealing US$300.

Mapuranga and Masimba went through a full trial before the Harare High Court distancing themselves from the murder but their defence did not find favour with the court.

In coming up with her sentence, Mungwari said the two deserved to stay locked up forever because the entire transaction that led to the disagreement between the deceased and them was steeped in illegality.

“They didn’t see reason and relentlessly pursued the deceased, got him and butchered him until he died at their hands. There is no way that the court can ever regard that as provocation. It would be akin to condoning drug peddling and trafficking.

“Admittedly both accused persons are first offenders however, regrettably, they initiated their criminal enterprise from the deepest ends.

“They also showed no remorse and no compassion for their heinous actions.

“They were determined to evade justice at any cost including mutilating the deceased’s body and raising spurious defences.

“Even at the end of the trial and upon being pronounced guilty, they stood stony-faced without a shred of regret.

“Against the above background, we firmly believe that the penalty of death might be too harsh in the circumstances of first offenders,” said the judge.

Mungwari said instead, the court would exercise its limited discretion by sending the offenders to prison for the longest possible period in the hope that it would meet the justice of this gruesome crime, give the deceased’s relatives some measure of closure and pacify society for this irreparable wrong with the hope that it will be eternally protected from the animals that the offenders turned into.

“The two have long gone past the threshold of rehabilitation.

“A determinate term of imprisonment would not achieve any of the objectives outlined in the guidelines as they have shown no remorse and given their drug-related habits, the possibility of them reoffending cannot be discounted.

“It is for the above reasons that we direct that each of the offenders be and is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment,” she ruled.

Mupunga and Makoto were arrested after killing Tinotenda Mandiyanike, whom they accused of stealing their drugs worth US$300 and seven pairs of jeans before dumping his body along the Harare-Bulawayo Road to fake an accident.

The court heard that the two with their accomplice only known as Gaza, who is still at large, confronted Mandiyanike and demanded that he return the allegedly stolen drugs and cash.

When Mandiyanike told them that he had neither, the two men then forced him to remove all his clothing, bound his hands and legs, gagged his mouth and forced him to lie on the ground.

They then physically assaulted him using electric cables, a baton stick, and some car jumpers and even burned him with molten plastic before taking him to his home to retrieve the money.

However, when the trip to Mandiyanike’s home proved fruitless, Mupunga and Makoto abducted him and were later seen assaulting him inside the latter’s motor vehicle at Rockview.

Mandiyanike passed on a few hours later, succumbing to his injuries, leading Mupunga and Makoto to try and dump his body at a clinic in Ruwa.

However, when the hospital personnel advised them to report the matter to the police the trio panicked and dumped his body at the 62km peg along Harare-Bulawayo Road.