Infidelity dispute ends in tragedy as woman axes sister-in-law to death


A 48-year-old Hwange woman who struck and killed her sister-in-law with an axe following a misunderstanding over infidelity has been convicted of culpable homicide and will spend five years in jail.

Odith Sibanda from Lupote village under chief Nelukoba in Dete struck dead Siphathisiwe Ngwenya then aged 47 years with an axe before assaulting her with fists and a switch accusing her of harbouring her husband.

Sibanda who offered a limited plea to culpable homicide said she acted in self-defence after allegedly being attacked by the deceased.

However, sitting at the Hwange High Court circuit, Bulawayo judge Justice Christopher Banda-Dube rubbished her self-defence claim, labelling her a liar after her testimony showed glaring inconsistencies on the events of the fateful day.

“The accused is facing a murder charge but has pleaded not guilty and raised self-defence. Accused was a poor witness, it’s clear that she lied that she didn’t know who was knocking,” said the judge.

“She knew she was struggling with the deceased that’s the reason why she used an axe handle. She lied that a fight ensued, the post-mortem speaks of an assault not a fight. “Accused’s version is not improbable but far a lie. You exceeded the bounds of self-defense and negligently cause the death of someone,” said Justice Banda-Dube. The judge said the only thing that had saved Sibanda from the murder charge was that the deceased had come to her homestead at night resulting in elements of provocation before convicting her of culpable homicide.

She was sentenced to five years imprisonment of which one year was conditionally suspended meaning she will serve an effective four years. The state led by Mrs Charline Gorerino told the court that Sibanda and the deceased are sisters-in-law in that they were married to brothers.

Sibanda’s husband is late and deceased suspected that she was having an affair with her husband, Themba Moyo. The deceased’s husband, Themba Moyo told the court that he received a call from Sibanda who told him to “Come and collect your dog I’m sitting on top of it, and come with your sister.”

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