Masvingo – The High Court in Masvingo has opened trial of a man who allegedly brutally murdered his friend over differences regarding sharing of spoils from a menial job they had done.
Richard Chikwanda, (49), of Village 1, Vlakfontein Farm, Chief Chikwanda, Masvingo, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Samson Dembera, (35), of Village 2 on the same farm when he appeared before Justice Garainesu Mawadze sitting with assessors, Mavis Chademana and Graeme Nish.
The State, represented by Edwin Mbavarira, alleged that Chikwanda on August 9, 2020 assaulted Dembera with a log all over his body, causing his death at Masvingo General Hospital the following day.
This happened in Zaka, and Dembera was transferred to Masvingo General Hospital after the local Ndanga District Hospital failed to treat him. He suffered serious injuries from the alleged attack, and passed on a day after the assault.
Giving evidence in court, Saul Masukuma of Village 1 and an uncle to Dembera, said when he and the Village 2 head, John Mazango, responded to a distress call from Dembera, they found him badly injured and unable to wake up from his bed and struggling to speak.
Masukuma said Dembera told them that he had allegedly been assaulted by Chikwanda with a log over a misunderstanding that arose over the sharing of the proceeds of a menial job they had done together.
Dembera, he said, had indicated he was unlikely to survive from the brutal assault he had allegedly received from Chikwanda. Nonetheless, Masuma looked for transport to take Dembera to Masvingo for treatment, and also reported the case to local police.
In the dock, Chikwanda told the court a totally different version of events on the fateful day.
He said he acted in self-defence after Dembera allegedly assaulted him with a log over a longstanding land dispute between the two.
In the ensuing tussle, Chikwanda told the court Dembera hit his head on a hard surface and injured himself, resulting in his eventual death. Ironically, he also reported the alleged assault by Dembera at the local police at the time.
Trial resumes on Monday next week. – New Ziana