Prophet gets 15 years for killing soldier

High court judge Justice Martin Makonese has sentenced a self-proclaimed Kwekwe prophet who murdered a soldier in 2011 to 15 years in prison. The case has been the subject of intense discussion in the small mining town since it happened.

The development comes barely a year after another man of the cloth, Madzibaba Medaldo Ruzungunde, hit the headlines after he was controversially released from prison two weeks after being jailed for 18 months. He had been convicted of severely assaulting a former female congregant, Elizabeth Dobha.

In the latest case, prosecutor Fred Kadodo told the court that the prophet, Ackim Chirwa, and the deceased Esdom Mukazi, were among patrons drinking beer at Bonaccord farm shopping centre in Redcliff in December 2011.

Chirwa then picked a quarrel with another patron, Johnson Dhliwayo, after the latter had said prophets did not stay long with their wives due to adultery. He also insisted that he had problems with prophets who shun beer.

Dhliwayo then stepped on Chirwa’s spectacles and broke them. Outside the shops Dhliwayo slapped Chirwa three times on the face. Chirwa hit him back with an iron bar before attempting to flee from the scene. Mukazi ,who was also at the scene then tried to break the quarrel by holding Chirwa from the back.

However Chirwa produced an Okapi knife and stabbed Mukazi in the chest. Chirwa then proceeded to stab Dhliwayo on his left palm and back before fleeing from the scene. Mukazi died the following day at Kwekwe General Hospital.

Makonese, who was sitting at the Gweru circuit, said Chirwa had not shown any remorse for his actions but instead attempted to mislead the court that it was Dhliwayo who had stabbed Mukazi by mistake.

“Your behaviour is not consistent with that of a prophet. In the circumstances, a deterrent lengthy prison term will be appropriate in order to dissuade other like-minded prophets,” ruled Justice Makonese.

Makonese also sentenced to three years a 17-year-old juvenile from Lower Gweru for killing a colleague with a knobkerrie following an argument over herding cattle.

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