Gokwe cop killer traditional healer denied bail

A traditional healer from Gokwe who allegedly lured a police officer to a bush where he is alleged to have fatally stabbed him with a knife and dumped the body, has lost his application for bail pending trial.

Pardon Nzanga (31) of Siyamuzula village under Chief Siyamuchembo in Gokwe was implicated in the case of Constable Edmond Sibanda who was stationed at Tsholotsho Police Station who was reported missing and was later found dead.

Upon his arrest, Nzanga was found in possession of the missing police officer’s car and other belongings.

Cst Sibanda reportedly went missing on October 10 last year during his deployment at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) offices at DDF premises in Tsholotsho.

Nzanga, through his lawyers Hlabano Law Chambers, filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.

Justice Thompson Mabhikwa dismissed the application saying there was no guarantee that if granted bail, Nzanga would not abscond.

“The applicant is not a proper candidate for bail and accordingly, the application for bail pending trial is hereby dismissed,” ruled Justice Mabhikwa.

In his bail statement, Nzanga argued that at the material time, he was not at the scene of the crime.

He said he only came to know that he was a suspect in the murder of Cst Sibanda when police came to his rural home looking for him.

Nzanga said he was tortured by police, forcing him into admitting that he murdered their colleague.

“The applicant was forced to make indications as he feared for his life. He was also told by the police that his items were found in the deceased’s car,” argued Nzanga’s lawyers.

He said there were no compelling reasons for his continued detention, arguing that the State case was weak.

“In casu, it has not been proved that the applicant will pose danger to any named or unnamed witnesses and therefore there is no way he can interfere with persons that are not known. There is no likelihood that the release of the accused person will disturb the public order,” said Nzanga’s lawyers.

He said by virtue of being a family man and sole bread winner taking care of his three wives and four children, he would not abscond and leave his family to suffer.

“In actual fact, the applicant never demonstrated an ability to flee the country. He has been co-operating with the police before and after his arrest,” said Nzanga’s lawyers.

For the State, Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza opposed the bail application, saying they have established a strong prima facie case against Nzanga.

“The State’s evidence is very strong in this matter because all the deceased’s property including his car was recovered in the possession of the applicant,” he said.

Mr Jaravaza said due to the gravity of the alleged offence, there was no guarantee that if granted bail Nzanga would not abscond.

It is alleged that on October 11 last year, the deceased was carrying out Zec duties at Tsholotsho Business Centre before he decided to drive to Gweru.

On arrival in the Midlands capital, the deceased met Nzanga at a local service station during which Cst Sibanda revealed to him that he wanted to be treated for an undisclosed ailment.

Nzanga is alleged to have directed the deceased to Bochloof Farm and the two drove to a bushy area.

Nzanga is alleged to have ordered the police officer to kneel down while he stood behind his back pretending to be conducting the rituals.

He allegedly pulled out a knife and slit Cst Sibanda’s throat. He took the deceased’s car, a Toyota Corolla, and drove to his rural home in Gokwe.

Investigations were conducted after a relative filed a missing person report leading to Nzanga’s arrest.

He was taken to the scene for indications leading to the recovery of the deceased’s belongings, which included the stolen car, clothes and a cellphone.

Nzanga took police to his shrine where the deceased’s police cap, his police identity and bank cards and passport were recovered hidden in a trunk.