The High Court has acquitted two members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) accused of shooting dead two Mwenezi brothers.
The soldiers, Tapiwanashe Basopo (37) and Collen Ncube (29), who are based at HQ1 Brigade in Bulawayo, were acquitted on Tuesday by Justice Garainesu Mawadze at the High Court in Masvingo.
The two soldiers were deployed to Mijingwe Ranch in Mwenezi when the shooting incident happened.
It was alleged that Basopo, Ncube, and a third soldier, Chrispen Maphosa (30), who is at large were approached by Olman Nyunyana on 26 December 2019.
Nyunyana complained to the soldiers that his brother Ernest had been severely assaulted by three Matarise brothers on Christmas evening.
Basopo, Ncube and Maphosa offered to track and apprehend the accused brothers.
Maphosa and Basopo armed themselves with AK 47 rifles and dressed in army regalia and proceeded to Shayamabvudzi Business Centre where they arrived at around 9 PM.
They confronted Sifelani who ran home and informed his brothers, Ngonidzashe and Hosiah.
The brothers armed themselves with a knife, machetes, an iron bar, and a screwdriver and went and confronted the soldiers.
A misunderstanding arose and the brothers charged toward the soldiers. Sifelani and Hosiah were then shot dead in the melee.
Sifelani and Hosiah were shot in the chest and head respectively and died on the spot.
Ngonidzashe escaped and reported the matter to the police. ZRP officers teamed up with members of the military police and arrested the three soldiers.
Four live rounds, three spent cartridges, magazines, and two AK47 rifles were recovered.
The State, however, said in court that it did not have enough evidence against the two, and Justice Mawadze cleared them of the charges.
Police are looking for Maphosa after a warrant of arrest was issued by the High Court on 17 March 2022.
Justice Mawadze did not clear Maphosa of the charges after noting that he had not reported for work for several months. In his ruling, Justice Mawadze said:
The State has indicated that there is not enough evidence to get a verdict and my judgment is as follows. Maphosa remains on the warrant of arrest issued on March 17, 2022.
Basopo and Ncube are hereby cleared of the murder and any other related charges and are hereby acquitted.
The two AK47 rifles being held as exhibits will remain since the State intends to try Maphosa.
Justice Mawadze said Basopo and Ncube had attended court hearings consistently and urged them to behave appropriately as members of the uniformed forces.
Emmanuel Mathose prosecuted and Martin Mureri of Matutu Mureri Legal Practitioners appeared for Ncube and Basopo. | The Mirror