TWO Hwange soldiers this week appeared before a local magistrate facing charges of beating up and leaving for dead, a State security agent whom they accused of being related to late former President Robert Mugabe who killed their relatives during Gukurahundi.
The early 1980s genocide commonly referred to as Gukurahundi, saw 20 000 civilians die in the hands of an army unit deployed by the former strongman in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
For the offence, Philani Nyoni, 34, and Sindiso Nkomo, 30, were brought to court facing attempts to kill the state agent.
Both are stationed at 1.2 Infantry Battalion.
They were also charged with two counts of assault following an incident in which they beat up Tawanda Mugabe of Manyame Park in Harare.
Mugabe is employed by the President’s Office in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
“The accused persons threatened to kill the complainant by unspecified means and they went on to accuse him of being related to the late Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe saying ‘we must kill that one called Mugabe; (Robert) Mugabe killed a lot of people in this region’,” trial Magistrate Ailene Munamati heard from the State.
According to court documents, the two soldiers committed the crimes while at the Cricket Club in Hwange on December 8.
“On the 8th day of December 2019 and at Cricket Club, Hwange at around 0500 hours, the accused persons approached the complainant after they heard him being called Mugabe by his friend.
“The two threatened to kill the complainant by unspecified means and they went on to accuse him of being related to the late Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe saying ‘anonzi (he is called) Mugabe, we should kill him, (Robert Mugabe killed a lot of people in this region’.”
Prosecutors said by so doing, Nyoni and Nkomo caused fear on Mugabe (26) that he was going to be killed.
The court was told that the two accused went on to assault Mugabe.
Nyoni struck him once on the left arm with an unknown sharp object while Nkomo picked a broken piece of bottle and stabbed Mugabe on the chest.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the two.
The hapless Mugabe was rushed to St Patrick’s Hospital where he was treated and discharged.
Magistrate Munamati found Nyoni and Nkomo guilty and fined each of them $100 or one month in prison in the event they fail to pay, and an additional two months in jail which were wholly suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
The Matabeleland regions and parts of Midlands experienced mass killings in the early 1980s, which came to be known as the Gukurahundi and Robert Mugabe who had just assumed power, is accused of plotting the attacks on Ndebeles.
He died this year in September in Singapore where he was receiving treatment and was buried at his rural home in Zvimba despite efforts by the ruling Zanu PF government to bury him at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.