By Paul Katanda
A KOMBI driver from Ushewekunze in Harare has been slapped with a 20-year jail term after he was convicted of murdering a tout over a dispute regarding the sharing of their daily earnings.
Humphrey Mazani had denied killing Augustine Makoko, arguing that he only acted in self defence.
But High court judge, Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa, found him guilty of the offence, ruling that evidence against him was glaring.
During the trial, witnesses gave corroborating evidence.
Manongwa said the murder was premeditated.
“Whilst the accused pleads for a short prison sentence so as to look after his family, he fails to consider that the deceased also had a family, which has lost a loved one. It would be negation of duty if the accused gets a shorter prison sentence,” she said.
“From the evidence led in court, it is clear that the deceased was the aggressive part. It is a fact that the accused and his brother had looked for the deceased in a menacing manner during the day.
“Three state witnesses testified that they had warned the deceased of the looming danger…” she said.
The court heard Makoko’s sister had been told that Mazanhi was hunting for her brother.
Manongwa said his offence was serious.
“A life was unnecessarily lost. The accused was determined to cause harm to the deceased as evidenced by him hunting him down.”
The judge said it is the courts’ duty to protect the society.
“It is for the courts to ensure that vulnerable members of the society are protected from like minded people by incarcerating such individuals for a long time, with hope that they get rehabilitated and learn to place value on life. It will be a negation of duty if this court were to sentence the accused to a shorter sentence. The accused is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.”
According to court papers, Mazani and Makoko had worked together for over five years as a kombi driver and a tout respectively.
On May 12 2020, the two and 6 others were at one Washaya’s place of residence, at number 2149 Chigwende, Ushewokunze, Harare, where they usually gather for their smoking sessions.
The court heard Makoko told Mazani they should fight as he was not ready to share any money with his partner, and that is when Washaya told everyone to go outside.
As they were outside, the heated argument continued and Mazani stabbed the deceased with a knife on the neck and he ran away, leaving the now deceased to die.
The court heard that Mazani spent days looking for the now deceased so that he could explain certain issues that he had allegedly told the rest of their crew.
Washaya even testified that on the day of the incident, he warned the now deceased to go home instead of staying at the smoking base because he believed that he was in danger since Mazani was furiously looking for him.