POPULAR gold dealer, Baron Dube (44) of Habane Extension Township in Esigodini has been sentenced to an effective 10 years in prison for killing a member of a rival gang following a dispute at a mine.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva on Tuesday convicted Dube of murder after he fatally shot Prince Antony Bvundura (22) in September 2018.
In passing sentence, Justice Takuva said Dube was a bully who was motivated by greed.
“In the first place, you had no right to be at that mine which you claimed the owner tasked you to manage. There was a gold rush at the mine and you were driven there by greed because you are a bully,” Justice Takuva said.
He expressed concern over the prevalence of violence among miners saying the courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of human life through passing deterrent sentences.
“Recently violence among miners is on the rise. The court has to pass sentences that will dissuade the would-be offenders as crimes in the mining areas have become a danger to the society. People like you have to be removed from the society. A young man lost his life due to your greed. Imprisonment is the right thing for you and therefore you are sentenced to an effective 10 years imprisonment,” ruled Justice Takuva.
He reminded Dube of his automatic right of appeal against both conviction and sentence at the Supreme Court.
Dube, who was out of custody on $2 000 bail, fatally shot Bvundura in September 2018 in the heat of a fight over a mining claim at Block 13 Atlas Mine in Esigodini.
He used a Voere 458 calibre rifle.
The shooting happened at a mine belonging to Mr Tendai Musanangura and Dube said Mr Musanangura had granted him the authority to occupy it. Mr Musanangura however denied granting the authority.
Dube, who was being represented by Mr Leopold Mudisi of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners had told the court that the firearm accidentally discharged after he stepped on a rock and fell down while fleeing from a mob, which was throwing stones at him while baying for his blood.
“I fell down while trying to run away from the illegal gold panners who were chasing me and in the process the revolver, which was stashed in my shorts accidentally discharged after I fell into a pit. I didn’t realise that I shot a person until the following day when I was approached by police while trying to fill up the pits, which had been dug by the illegal gold panners,” he said.
Dube had denied that he opened fire at his rivals during violent skirmishes, claiming he was the victim. He also denied that there was a gold rush at the mine.
Under cross-examination, Dube failed to justify why he had to arm himself since he purported that his intention was not to fight anyone.
Upon his arrest he was found with a gun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition.