Man acquitted of desecrating Heroes Acre graves

HARARE - The State has withdrawn charges against a Harare man who ran amok after sneaking into the heavily-guarded National Heroes’ Acre and destroying 14 graves.

Prosecutor Patience Chimusaru withdrew charges against Titus Ruoko after it was discovered that he was mentally challenged at the time he committed the offence.

The 24-year-old Ruoko was apprehended by security personnel from the Zimbabwe National Army who were patrolling the national shrine.

According to State papers, Ruoko sneaked into the national shrine and tampered with the graves of Elliot Manyika, Lloyd Mbombo Gundu, Charles Njodzi Dauramanzi, Stephen Nkomo, Sikwili Khotti Moyo, Rodello Lifa, brigadier-general Armstrong Paul Gunda, David Karimanzira, Ephraim Masawi, Solomon Mujuru, Cain Nkala and Herbert Chitepo among others.

When Ruoko appeared in court, magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa ordered that he goes for a psychiatric evaluation by two medical doctors, who both concluded that Ruoko was not of sound mind after he had stopped taking his medication.

The court was told that the incident took place on December 1, when Obert Ngwenya, who was manning the national shrine, heard some noises and rushed to investigate.

According to State papers, Ngwenya saw Ruoko smashing clay flower pots at one grave. Ruoko fled from the scene when he saw Ngwenya charging towards him.

Ngwenya ran after Ruoko and managed to apprehend him, before taking him to Warren Park Police Station.

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