TWO drug dealers have been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of one of their runners, who they accused of cheating on their supply of crystal meth and embezzling US$300.
Warren Mupunga (27) and Masimba Makoto (37) were found guilty of the brutal attack and murder of Tinotenda Mandiyanike in May 2021.
Mupunga was a welder and Makoto operated a local transport business where he employed Mandiyanike.
The High Court heard that the two went to Mandiyanike’s house at around midnight on May 22, 2021.
They ransacked his house, ordered him to remove all his clothes, bound his hands and legs and gagged his mouth.
The pair assaulted Mandiyanike using electric cables, a truncheon and car jumpers.
They even burnt him with molten plastic but still failed to locate the drugs they accused him of stealing.
Mandiyanike was brutalised until the following morning and died from severe trauma.
Mupunga and Makoto then dumped his body along the Harare-Bulawayo Road in an attempt to make it appear like he had died in a hit-and-run accident.
Mandiyanike’s body was identified four months later in a Norton mortuary after he was reported missing.
Both Mupunga and Makoto denied any link to his death, forcing a lengthy trial from 2021 to this month.
Justice Lucy Mungwari said that the pair had an intention to kill.
“The choice of these weapons clearly shows that the accused did not simply want to express their anger at the deceased for their money.
“At the very least they must have realised the existence of a real risk or possibility that use of such weapons on the deceased could kill or seriously injure him.
“They were unconcerned about the outcome. The conclusion is inevitable. They had the intention to kill,” Justice Mungwari said in her ruling.