By Bulawayo Correspondent
An Air Force of Zimbabwe pilot, Tashinga Musonza (29) who brutally murdered his Gweru based girlfriend was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction of murder with constructive intent by a Bulawayo High Court Judge on Friday.
High Court Judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo convicted Musonza of killing Gweru lawyer Lucy Duve then (32) in a crime of passion in November last year.
The State represented by Nokuthaba Ngwenya had applied for a more severe sentence arguing that the murder was committed under aggravating circumstances.
Ngwenya argued that there was physical violence including strangulation during Duve’s murder but Musonza’s lawyer, Kalvern Tundu from Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners apposed the application.
Musonza’s trial was initially supposed to start on January 28 before Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa who was on circuit in Gweru.
It was however transferred to Bulawayo where it was presided over by Justice Moyo.
Nine State witnesses including Dr Sanganai Pesanai, the pathologist who examined the deceased‘s body testified during the four-day trial which ended about two week ago.
Other witnesses who testified include Ellen Musopero, a neighbour to the now deceased, George Himalaya Makwenjere a General Duty Pilot at the Josiah Tungamirai Airbase in Gweru who is also the convict‘s friend and one of Musonza’s other girlfriend, Nokuthula Matsikaiti .
In her testimony, Musopero said on 25 November 2018 at around midnight, he heard a noise of barking dogs at the deceased’s house.
“When I woke up, I heard the accused insulting the deceased with words like I (will) f**k you. In a short space of time, I heard some movements outside the yard. When I peeped through the window, I saw Lucy stark naked going towards the gate,” said Musopero.
She said the deceased opened the gate while she was naked.
Musopero also told the court that he saw a naked Musonza follow the deceased.
“Tashinga followed Lucy outside. I did not hear what they were discussing because the dogs were barking. I only heard a screaming noise from the deceased,” said Musopero.
She told the court that the two after quarrelling drove to an unknown destination during the night.
Second to testify was George Himalaya Makwenjere a General Duty Pilot at the Josiah Tungamirai Airbase where Musonza worked. Makwenjere told the court that he went to school with the accused at Nhohwe mission in Macheke.
“I was phoned by Tashinga at around 11am on the day of the incident. He was accusing me of going out with Lucy. From the tone of his voice on the phone, I could tell that he was enraged,” Makwenjere said.
Makwenjere said after an hour, Tashinga phoned him again saying he was coming with Lucy to the Airbase to discuss the issue.
When Tashinga arrived at the Airbase, Makwenjere told the court that the accused started assaulting the deceased before kicking her while she was lying on the ground.
Makwanjere said he and his girlfriend tried to restrain him but he refused insisting that he was in love with Lucy.
Musonza’s other girlfriend, Matsikaiti a cadet officer at the Airbase told the court that she and the deceased were both in love with the killer.
Matsikaiti said during the day of the alleged crime, she, the deceased and the accused met at Lucy‘s house where they discussed their relationship.
Matsikaiti also told the court that the accused and the deceased smoked dagga during the meeting. Musonza allegedly fatally assaulted Duve who was working for a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) accusing her of cheating on him with Makwenjere.