By Tonderai Saharo
TWO daring cattle rustlers have been sentenced to 63 years each after being convicted of stealing 23 cattle from villagers in Nyajena communal area in Masvingo within a week.
Kudzai Mukungwa (23) and Richard Mabambe (19) were convicted on their own guilty plea when they appeared before Masvingo provincial magistrate Langton Ndokera facing 7 counts of livestock theft charges.
Some 38 years of their sentence was conditionally suspended after the court took it into consideration that the duo were first time offenders and did not waste court’s time and resources when they pleaded guilty to all counts.
Prosecutor Edmore Mapope told the court that from 14 to 20 October last year, the two raided Pisirayi village under chief Nyajena in rural Masvingo and within that period, they rounded off a total of 23 cattle which they saw grazing unattended in a communal grazing area.
The stolen beasts belonged to seven different villagers.
Court heard that during the course of the thefts, the two would drive the cattle to a neighbouring village which is some 30 km away where they hid the cattle on a mountain.
After rounding off the herd, the court heard that the two contacted a buyer who works for Carswell Meats, a local abattoir, informing him that they had cattle they wanted to sell at giveaway prices.
Court heard that the buyer, who was not mentioned in court, then drove to Nyajena where he met the two but he became suspicious about the large number of cattle the two wanted to dispose of at once.
The buyer notified the police about the intended deal and the two were subsequently arrested.
Police did not have problems in investigating the thefts as owners of the cattle had already notified them about their missing livestock.