Court Circuit Extended To Conclude 'Politically Motivated Murder'

Farai Machaya, the governor’s son and five others are facing trial over the murder of a prominent member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T).

Moses Chokuda who was murdered in March 2009 and his body still remain unburied.

The Judge is on Monday faced with a mammoth task of giving judgment in a murder case believed to be politically motivated as the accused are alleged strong Zanu-PF supporters.

On Friday it was tense in room one at the magistrates courts where the High court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi and assessors Lex Dhlula and Wellington Matemba were expected by many to conclude the murder case and give judgement as it was the last day of the sitting of the high court.

At the start of the trial on Monday, Machaya, Abel Maposa, and brothers Edmore Gana and Bothwell Gana, as well as Obert Gavi and Tirivashoma Mawadze, all of Gokwe Centre, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder as defined in Section 47 of the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act.

By Friday, the lawyers of the first four accused persons had wrapped up their defense outline with all of them admitting to have witnessed the assault of Moses Chokuda that led to his death but argued they did not take part in the assault but instead tried to assist the deceased by demanding that the assault be stopped.

The state, represented by chief law officer Rosa Takuva and state counsel Diana Msipa, argues that the first four accused persons fatally assaulted Chokuda on the night of March 22 2009 at the homestead of headman Esau Ndokwane in Nemangwe after they had taken the deceased captive, accusing him of having broken into Machaya’s shop at Gokwe Centre.

The high court in a story that sounded more like a fairy tale heard from the first four accused that Chokuda then aged 25 was assaulted by unknown people whom the four found at a beer hall and had asked them for directions to headman Ndokwane’s homestead to look for Leeroy Ndokwane whom the deceased had implicated in the theft case and said it was this “crowd” that later turned on to assault Moses after Leeroy had escaped.

However the state during cross examination questioned why the crowd would gladly leave their drinking to accompany the four accused who had taken the deceased captive to headman Ngotwane’s place and later assaulted Moses when they were not interested parties.

The state argues that there was never a crowd as indicated by the state witnesses and maintains the first four accused assaulted Moses Chokuda who died.

An autopsy by physician Patron Venge which was presented as exhibit to the court stated the deceased died as a result of injuries to the cervical spine.
From the evidence given, the last two accused who are soldiers were not at the scene of the assault at Headman Ndokwane’s place but is believed slapped the deceased Moses Chokuda earlier at Gokwe center when he was being held captive by Machaya and company.

The Chokuda family has vowed not to bury their son until justice prevails and Monday is likely to determine whether after almost three years Moses will be laid to rest.