SAD SCENES: Peacemaker beaten to pulp while trying to stop violent fight


Mahlubundile Mtukela, a resident of Fort Rixon, might question the wisdom of former US President Richard Nixon’s famous statement that the greatest honour history can bestow is that of a peacemaker. Mtukela found himself on the receiving end of a brutal assault when he attempted to mediate a dispute between villagers during a beer-drinking session.

The incident occurred on the evening of April 18, 2023, at the bustling Mqolweni Business Centre. Mtukela was enjoying a drink with his siblings, Kwanisile Mtukela, Mzikhona Mtukela, and Patrick Zondo when a heated argument erupted between Mthokozisi Mntambo and Zondo, escalating into a physical altercation. Sensing the need to intervene, Mtukela stepped in to protect Zondo from further harm.

Unfortunately, Mtukela’s peacemaking efforts backfired in the most violent manner. Mntambo, clearly agitated by Mtukela’s interference, turned his aggression towards him, launching a ferocious attack. With a spring and a stick in hand, Mntambo unleashed a series of heavy blows upon Mtukela’s head, leaving him dazed and battered.

The assault did not go unnoticed, as horrified onlookers quickly alerted the authorities. Police swiftly apprehended Mntambo, who was subsequently brought before Bulawayo magistrate Themba Chimiso to face charges of assault.

During the trial, Mntambo pleaded not guilty, vehemently denying any wrongdoing. However, the testimonies of four State witnesses painted a different picture, with only one witness claiming not to have witnessed the alleged assault. The remaining three witnesses provided consistent accounts of the incident, corroborated by the medical report that detailed Mtukela’s injuries.

Magistrate Chimiso, after careful consideration of the evidence presented, reached a verdict. “The State called four witnesses and only one of the witnesses told the court that he did not see the alleged assault. However, the other three witnesses gave consistent statements and the medical report also proves that this was an assault,” declared Chimiso.

With the conviction secured, Mntambo now awaits his sentencing, while Mtukela recovers from the harrowing ordeal he endured. The victim, in need of urgent medical attention, was promptly transferred to United Bulawayo Hospitals for treatment.

The incident serves as a stark reminder that acts of peacemaking can sometimes carry unintended consequences. While history may indeed honour those who strive for peace, Mtukela’s unfortunate encounter serves as a cautionary tale, demonstrating the inherent risks involved in attempting to mediate conflicts, even in the most seemingly benign settings.

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