Murder Trial Involving Midlands Governor’s Son Opens

The six who also include two brothers Edmore (29) and Bothwell (27) Gana, Abel Maposa, Obert Gavi and Tirivashoma Mawadze, all of Gokwe Centre are accused of murdering a Gokwe man and MDC activist, Moses Chokuda in March 2009.

The case, scheduled to be heard on Tuesday had to be postponed because one of the defence counsels representing the Gana brothers was admitted to hospital.

The murder case closely being monitored by the media, political activists and human rights activists resumed Thursday with Machaya being put to his defence at the close of the state case after five witnesses had given testimony and had been cross examined by the defence.

All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty.

The Chokuda family has refused to bury their son until the matter has been finalised.

It is alleged Chokuda (25) died as a result of the injuries from the assault by the six.

Since then the case has attracted a lot of attention as it is strongly believed the murder was politically motivated as Chokuda was a known activist of the MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai while the accused are alleged to be known Zanu (PF) activists.

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

The defense, led by lawyer Josinia Maupa, representing Machaya and Maposa, as well as lawyer Ambrose Dururu, representing the two Gana brothers, denies the charge arguing that the four are not the ones who assaulted Chokuda but actually tried to assist the deceased when a group of unknown people who had accompanied them to headman Ndokwana’s homestead assaulted him.

Lawyer Jethro Nyarota is representing Gavi while another lawyer Mavese Mapfumo, is representing Mawadze.
Gavi denies the murder charge arguing he was only a bystander when he saw someone being assaulted. Mawadze denies having taken part, saying he was not in Gokwe on the day of the alleged murderous assault.

The state witnesses included physician Patron Venge who carried out an autopsy on the deceased. The post mortem report given as an exhibit at the high court circuit expected to end Friday stated the deceased died as a result of injuries to the cervical spine.

However the defence has asked the court not to accept the post mortem report arguing it should have been carried out by a forensic pathologist who is properly qualified for such a job. However in her testimony Venge told the court that even general medical practitioners are taught how to carry out an autopsy during training.

Evidence by the witnesses has so far been corroborating in most parts, with the first three witnesses who said they were present during the assault of the deceased at headman Ndokwana’s homestead. They described how the accused assaulted the deceased with booted feet switches and a log all over the body.

But under cross-examination by the defence, all three witnesses have said that they could not positively identify the accused persons as being those who had assaulted the deceased since the alleged incident occurred during the night.

The Chokuda family believes the case had been postponed many times because of political influence since the case involves the son of the Governor.

Moses Father, 46 year Old Tavengwa  Chokuda vowed to Radio VOP that unless justice prevails he shall not bury his son. He said while it is painful for him that his son is still in the mortuary he said those responsible for his death should be held accountable. Moses left a twenty year old wife and his visually handicapped mother says she hopes that the High court would help her get justice she has waited for too long