A MAN from Tsholotsho who allegedly teamed up with his sister-in-law to beat up his 67-year-old father before dousing him with petrol and burning him to ashes, has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Bethester Ndlovu (21) of Sihazela Line and his sister-in-law, Onesimo Khumalo (22), appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, on circuit in Hwange facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Kwabokwakhe Khumalo.
Ndlovu accused his father of bewitching him after consulting an inyanga and killed him two years ago. He was convicted of murder with actual intent while Onesimo was acquitted. Justice Mathonsi concluded that Ndlovu meticulously planned to kill his father before forcibly roping in his sister-in-law.
“Ndlovu smoked dagga and drank alcohol to gather enough courage to kill his father. Even after intoxication, he kept a clear mind of his intention,” said the judge.
Justice Mathonsi said Onesimo, whose hubby was in jail at the time of the murder, was forced by Ndlovu to commit the crime.
“Onesimo was left at the mercy of her brother-in-law who was always high on drugs. It’s clear that Ndlovu actually force-marched Onesimo to his father’s homestead where he forced her to contribute by lighting matches. Onesimo found herself in a very tough situation where she could have also been killed if she had refused to comply and accordingly she’s found not guilty of murder and acquitted,” ruled the judge.
“You were only 19 years old at the time of committing the offence. In fact you’re a rural young man living in the slow rhythm of Tsholotsho who believed in witchcraft to commit the most heinous crime against your father. Clearly you were influenced by a traditional healer and that reduces your moral blameworthiness,” said the judge.
He said the courts have a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life.“We can’t ignore the fact that your father died a lonely and painful death when you became an agent of evil. Communities must know that continuing to worship Lucifer and taking instructions from him in order to take innocent lives in such a callous manner will always be rewarded with a lengthy term of incarceration,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.
Prosecuting, Miss Namatirai Ngwasha said on November 27, 2014 shortly after midnight, Ndlovu and Onesimo armed themselves with a knobkerrie, box of matches and a container of petrol before they went to Khumalo’s homestead.
“On arrival they forcibly entered the deceased’s bedroom hut and Ndlovu struck his father twice on the neck with the knobkerrie and he fell down unconscious. He then poured petrol on him and all over the room before they left the hut,” said Miss Ngwasha.
She said Ndlovu ordered Onesimo to light the matches as they set the hut on fire and Khumalo was burnt to ashes.
After committing the crime, the two fled from the scene. Neighbours discovered the incident the following morning and reported the matter to the police leading to Ndlovu and Onesimo’s arrest.
Khumalo’s charred body was taken to Mpilo Central Hospital for a post mortem whose results showed that the cause of death was due to fatal burns and thermal murder.
Onesimo, through her lawyer, Mr Givemore Muvhiringi, said she was coerced by Ndlovu amid threats to commit the offence. chronicle