Drug dealers get life sentences for murder

TWO drug peddlers have been condemned to life imprisonment for murdering their courier after accusing him of duping them of US$300 from selling crystal meth.

Warren Mupunga (27) and Masimba Makoto (37) denied murdering Tinotenda Mandiyanike three years ago but were found guilty of planning and carrying out the assault that was so severe that it fell within the definition of murder.

After a trial over several months in the Harare High Court, Justice Lucy-Anne Mungwari sitting with assessors Mr Mhandu and Mrs Chitsiga, convicted the duo of the crime.

Mandiyanike’s body was found dumped along the Harare-Bulawayo highway, in a bid to fake a hit-and-run accident.

In convicting the two, Justice Mungwari ruled that the pair intended to kill their victim but the judge felt the death penalty might be too harsh in the circumstances of first offenders.

Instead, the court exercised its limited discretion by sending the two to prison for the longest possible period in the hope that it would meet the justice of this gruesome crime.

This would also give the victim’s relatives some measure of closure and pacify society for this irreparable wrong with the hope that it will be eternally protected from the “animals” that the duo turned into.

“The two have long gone past the threshold of rehabilitation,” said Justice Mungwari.

“A determinate term of imprisonment would not achieve any of the objectives outlined in the guidelines as they have shown no remorse and given their drug related habits, the possibility of them reoffending cannot be discounted.

“It is for the above reasons that we direct that each of the offenders be and is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment.”

The prosecution proved that Mupunga and Makoto teamed up with Abramas Masimba and another man identified as Gaza, both still at large, and confronted Mandiyanike accusing him of stealing US$300 and seven pairs of jeans before severely assaulting him.

Mupunga and his accomplices drove to Mandiyanike’s residence where they conducted a search but could not find anything. The gang then bundled the victim, placed him in their vehicle and drove to the 62 kilometre peg along Bulawayo Road where they dumped his remains after they failed to get medical attention at a clinic in Ruwa.

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