Fracas as man gets 9 years in jail after stealing a cow to pay lobola

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In a desperate attempt to fulfil his cultural obligations, a 19-year-old Zimbabwean man has found himself on the wrong side of the law after stealing a cow. Locky Chigwengwe, a resident of Nyawiswa village, was recently brought before the Karoi Magistrates’ Court on charges of stock theft.

According the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe, the complainant, whose identity remains undisclosed, had securely penned his herd of cattle at Dabvu homestead before retiring for the night. It was during this time that Chigwengwe sneaked into the cattle kraal, untied a black cow with curved horns, and made off with the bovine without detection.

Remarkably, the accused wasted no time in utilizing the stolen cow as a form of payment for lobola — a customary practice in Zimbabwe that involves the groom’s family presenting cattle or money to the bride’s family as a sign of respect and appreciation. Chigwengwe, in his audacious act, handed over the pilfered animal to Ian Wamiridza of Muchena village the very next day.

However, the complainant soon discovered the absence of the valuable beast the following morning around 8 a.m. Distraught by the loss, he promptly reported the incident to the local police, prompting a swift investigation. On April 14, 2024, the police uncovered the whereabouts of the stolen cow, which happened to be in the possession of Ian Wamiridza.

During questioning, Wamiridza implicated Chigwengwe, leading to the young man’s subsequent arrest. The stolen cow, estimated to be worth US$400, was seized and returned to its rightful owner, bringing some measure of relief to the aggrieved party.

In a recent development, the Karoi Magistrates’ Court passed its judgment on Chigwengwe, finding him guilty of the crime of stock theft. The court sentenced the 19-year-old to a staggering 9 years of imprisonment, serving as a stern reminder of the gravity of such offences in Zimbabwean law.

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