Murder footage to be screened in court

HARARE - The State will today screen a video in court that captured three Marondera police officers and two neighbourhood watch members fatally strangling a commuter omnibus driver, prosecutors say.

Richard Buzuzu, 28, Liberty Magodo, 29, Tinevimbo Muzezewa, 29, Tafadzwa Turipa, 25, and Rambo Bhunu, 38, are answering to culpable homicide charges.

They are appearing before Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya.

Buzuzu, Magodo and Muzezewa are stationed at Chivhu, Featherstone and Beatrice respectively, while Turipa and Bhunu are members of the neighbourhood watch.

Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara had objected to the playing of the video on the basis that “there was a possibility that it could have been tampered with since the original gadget that allegedly recorded the incident was no longer available.”

But Mujaya granted leave for the video to be played and ruled that the witness, 23-year-old Successor Maswera — who captured the video — be cross-examined on any issues arising from the video’s production.

In their defence, the five claimed that the now-deceased Mugove Manonge had refused to avail his driver’s licence and documentation, resulting in an altercation with the police.

“He became argumentative, aggressive, violent and threatening. He violently refused to be arrested,” their defence outline says.

Prosecutor Ephraim Zinyandu alleged that on November 1, 2014 Buzuzu, Magodo and Muzezewa were manning a roadblock at the 20km peg along Marondera-Murewa Road in Marondera.

It is alleged that Turipa and Bhunu were seated at a nearby Bemba bus stop waiting for a relative who was coming from Marondera.

At around 4pm, Manonge approached the roadblock driving a commuter omnibus registration number ACL 3362 carrying 14 passengers.

It is alleged that Buzuzu signalled for Manonge to pull off the road before inspecting the vehicle. Buzuzu then ordered Manonge to pay a fine of $10 for driving without a licence.

An altercation ensued after Manonge said he did not have the money. It is alleged that the three police officers were overpowered by Manonge, who was resisting arrest.

Turipa and Bhunu intervened, and Buzuzu grabbed Manonge’s throat tightly, while others grabbed his legs, waist and hands, the court heard.

Manonge was eventually handcuffed. He reportedly fell unconscious. The struggle was captured on camera.

He was rushed to Marondera Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

A post-mortem concluded that Manonge died from strangulation.

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