IN THE SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
GWAUNZA JA, GARWE JA & GUVAVA JA
BULAWAYO, JULY 28, 2014 & JULY 30, 2014
P Madzivire, for the Appellant
A Munyeriwa, for the Respondent
GARWE JA: This is an appeal against the sentence of death imposed on the appellant by the High Court sitting on circuit at Gweru.
The facts of this case are as follows. The appellant and the mother of the two deceased children were known to each other. On 21 November 2011, the deceased’s mother, one Lydia Mangena, escaped from her thatched house through a back window. This was shortly after 9:00pm. A man had tried to break into her hut and, fearing for her life, she had then jumped out of the hut and, although she was pursued by the man for a distance, managed to escape. She then went and made a report to one Austin Marume, a member of the local neighbourhood watch committee. At about the same time, she noticed that the hut from which she had escaped and in which her two minor children, Pretty Kangausaru, aged six years, and Nigel, aged twenty three months, had been sleeping, was on fire. Together with Austin Marume she ran back to her homestead. She found her uncle having retrieved Pretty Kangausaru from the inferno. Pretty however had sustained severe burns. The other child Nigel was burnt beyond recognition. Pretty died on the way to Mnere Hospital.
It is common cause that in either case the cause of death was “hypovolaemia 20 Burns.”
In the court a quo the appellant denied being present at Lydia Mangena’s homestead on the night in question. He told the court he had left his homestead at about 7:00pm in order to go fishing at a place called Mataga.
What was in issue before the court a quo was the identity of the person who set on fire the hut in which the two children had been sleeping.
Lydia Mangenga gave evidence and narrated how she knew the appellant. They had attended the same school years previously. She had then left for Karoi where she continued her education. She had then returned to Mberengwa in 2009 after the death of her father and was staying at her late father’s homestead together with the two children.