Man murdered for speaking English; killer jailed 22 years

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By Staff Reporter

A 21-year old Marondera man will spend the next two decades in jail after he was found guilty of killing an elderly man for speaking English.

Anyway Pondo was convicted by High court judge, Justice Lucy Mungwari after a full trial.

He was jointly charged with Keith Matenena who was set free at the close of State’s case.

The court heard on June 13 2021, the deceased, Langton Mandibvira was walking along  a road close to Southlawn Park School speaking in English when Pondo took offence at his conduct.

He went on to kick him with booted feet , hitting him on a gravel road several times resulting in mortal injuries.

Pondo left Mandibvira lying on the road.

Mandibvira was later ferried to hospital for treatment. His condition deteriorated and he died on 27 June 2021.

During trial, Pondo who was 18 at the time, denied allegations raising a defence of mistaken identity.

He told the court that he never met the deceased and never knew him during his existence. On the fateful day he had remained behind securing the bricks and tools at Southlawn farm where he worked as a bricklayer.

However, a juvenile eye witness gave credible evidence against him resulting in his conviction.

“The child witness struck us as very credible. We hold that view because there are instances when he clearly said he did not know some things. He never sought to supplement that with falsehoods.

“We believed his narrative that he did not only manage to identify the accused but recognised him from an earlier encounter and from his association with Keith who he knew so well that when he reported the assault to the elders he told them that he had seen Keith and another man assaulting the deceased.

“The witness demonstrated that he had no motive to lie against the accused particularly because he wasn’t really known to him. He was however certain that he had seen the accused viciously assaulting the ‘English speaking deceased and being restrained by Keith,” said the judge.

In mitigation, counsel for the accused Ms Machanzi submitted that the accused is a 21 year old first offender who was 18 years old when he committed the offence. She argued that due to his age, the accused is an immature youthful offender and urged the court to spare him from a lengthy imprisonment term.

But the judge said legal practitioners should be aware that general aspects in mitigation will only work in favour of the accused if the court does not find that the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances.

The judge said the savagery and barbarism of the attack was unmitigated, and the accused gave the deceased no opportunity for survival.

“The deceased bled from the ears, mouth, and nose leading to head injuries. The accused was determined to kill the deceased and did not take heed of his companion’s pleas to desist from his aggression towards the deceased. The old man was subsequently hospitalised and died 13 days later, having suffered a painful death.

“In addition to this, the deceased was 73 years old. The offence of murder was therefore committed in aggravating circumstances and this increases the accused’s moral blameworthiness.

“After arriving at a finding that the murder was committed in aggravating circumstances, as well as consideration of the mitigating factors, we would have sentenced the accused to an imprisonment term of 22years. However, because he has been incarcerated since June of 2021, he has already served a 2 year sentence. The court will therefore deduct the 2 years already served,” she ruled.