By Staff Reporter
KWEKWE City Director of Housing, Edson Chiyangwa was Friday granted bail in a case in which he is accused of shooting and killing a member of an advancing gang of artisanal miners, derisively referred to as Mashurugwi, who had stormed his Forever Mine in Zhombe Wednesday night.
The 51-year-old official’s defence team is instead, pushing he be charged for culpable homicide as opposed to murder.
Valentine Mutatu submitted in court that Chiyangwa be given the lesser charge “since the act was done in self-defence”.
He insisted in court that “since the miners had trespassed on private property and my client had to take action as the angry miners would have caused harm to my client as they did to his friend.”
Representing the State, Meleni Nkala said the now deceased Darlington Chiundura who was in the company of 25 armed illegal artisanal miners, arrived at Chiyangwa’s mine unannounced at 11 pm on Tuesday.
They demanded that the Kwekwe City boss and his associate, Cornelious Dube grant them permission to prospect at the mine.
The gang turned aggressive after Chiyangwa turned down its proposal insisting that they were trespassing on private property.
The gang, which was armed with machetes, iron bars amongst other weapons, started to advance towards Chiyangwa and his employees.
The court then heard that sensing danger, Chiyangwa drew his 357 Taurus pistol and fired a warning shot in the air, an act which did not deter the gang which continued advancing.
By now his associate had locked himself inside a car.
Chiyangwa, before managing to escape, fired a shot towards the advancing group, killing Chiundura.
The gang dispersed a bit, giving the council executive an opportunity to flee the scene and make a police report.
The menacing gang then regrouped and advanced towards the car in which Dube was hiding.
The members damaged the vehicle and went on to hack him with machetes, leaving him for dead.
Dube is currently battling for life at Kwekwe General Hospital.
Chiyangwa was then picked up by police on Wednesday for questioning before his subsequent court appearance before Magistrate Mildred Mutuvi.
Mutuvi remanded the city boss in custody to 6 August but advised him to appeal for bail at the High Court.
“He was granted bail and is currently out. We obtained consent from the Prosecuting Authority in Gweru and it was accepted by the magistrate’s court,” lawyer Mutatu said.
Chiyangwa was ordered to pay $2000, to report every Friday, reside at his usual address, not to interfere with State witnesses and surrender his travel documents.