The callous murder of artist, dancer, video beau/model and cellphone dealer Sipho Ncube has been greeted with a huge amount of commentary on social media, with many users on the micro-blogging site Twitter using the hashtag #JusticeForSypho to demand that justice be meted out. The much-loved Harare hustler was allegedly slain by a tweenaged trio that comprised of Masvingo High Court judge Justice Garainesu Mawadze’s son, Munyaradzi Junior “MJ” Mawadze, Elvin Dongo Saungweme and Dellon David Balani, all aged 22.
Appearing before the Harare Magistrate’s Courts on Thursday afternoon, it was the State’s allegations that the trio hatched a plan to rob Sipho of his mobile phones and cash on the 12th of March. Accordingly, they lured him into their car claiming they wanted to buy three cell phones, each of which was priced at US$1 800.
Unbeknownst of the forthcoming fate that waited for him, Sipho agreed to accompany the three to Waterfalls and the accused diverted the route and drove along Chiremba Road passing Epworth going towards Ruwa. Whilst along Chiremba Road, they reached a secluded place where they robbed Sipho of his cellphones and cash. The State alleged that they ultimately stabbed him with a knife, slit open his throat thereby killing him instantly, and dumped Ncube’s body at someplace in Ruwa before MJ cleaned the bloodstained vehicle and vanished to Masvingo.
After Ncube went missing, his relatives reportedly filed a police report two weeks ago. A report was made at Harare Central police station and investigations were launched which led to the recovery of the vehicle used during the commission of the crime. Searches were conducted at MJ’s place in Harare leading to the recovery of a pair of black jean trousers, white vest and a pair of white sneakers all soiled with blood.
On March 24, MJ was arrested in Masvingo and brought to CID Homicide in Harare where he was interviewed. He implicated his accomplices Saungweme and Balani, as well as admitted to the allegations before they made indications to the police on how they committed the crime. They led the police to the crime scene in Ruwa and Sipho body was discovered on Wednesday.
While the case was being heard out before court on Thursday, Zimbabweans on twitter flooded the microblogging platform with tributes to the slain hustler at the same time kicking off cyberactivism that petitioned justice for the deceased as heralded by the use of the #JusticeForSypho hashtag.
“Just a few weeks ago this was shot and you were excited as everyone tagged @casspernyovest with Hope’s that yall would work soon…….Little did we know you would be abducted and murdered by these kids like this… RIP Sipho #justicemustbeserved #justiceforsypho(sic).”
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Right/Gender-Based Violence advocate Floridah R. Mapeto said people did not need to know Sipho to understand his plight.
“This story is heartbreaking and you don’t have to have known him to sympathize. This is not the Zimbabwe we want nomateer how bad things are #justiceforsypho(sic)”.
Musician-cum-fashion-designer and founder of Saints of God (SOG) fashion label John Tendai Mazhinye aka Jay Tee said the hustler taught him to ride a hoverboard and “never had problems” with people.
“One person I know who always had a clean cut everytime you see him was Sypho. He taught me how to ride a hoverboard & never had problems with anyone. Rest in peace young King Broken heart @syphoworldwide #justiceforsypho.”
Here are some of the tributes from Twitter.
#JusticeForSypho. I can’t believe how this 2020 has turned out , corona on the verge and a merciless, brutal murder of friend. Rest in peace friend.Justice should prevail , you did not deserve this.@HeraldZimbabwe @DailyNewsZim please make sure he gets justice pic.twitter.com/2Om7lndO0A
— Michelle_Maps (@Michell44144761) March 26, 2020
Such a very sad story. We seek justice of Sipho Ncube. He was brutally murdered. His body has been found. Justice for Syphoe 🙏🙏 we cannot lose more lives! The murderers were caught! Justice should be served, retweet for justice . #justiceforsypho #justiceforsypho pic.twitter.com/KF8hXTKmqo
— Nicole Fkay (@FkayNicole) March 26, 2020
Zimbabwe has become one vernomous place to be. We can’t contain the vernom anymore. People are disappearing and being murdered everyday. We are not safe. And the murderers are getting away with it. Nothing is being done. #JusticeForSypho
— Lovely (@ManzunzuN) March 26, 2020
Help us get justice. A good soul was robbed of his life while all he did was smile and try make it in this world #justiceforsypho @advocatemahere @ZOCCzw @RuvhenekoP @edmnangagwa pic.twitter.com/ws6CNEhWHz
— Claire Bernard (@CaramelBarb) March 26, 2020
I didn’t know this guy, but he was just another young man trying to make a living in this tough country. He didn’t deserve to die like that. This is the story of what transpired. He was murdered. Let’s all unite and call for #Justice4Sipho. pic.twitter.com/EtUK68WiVD
— King Lea 🇿🇼 (@rudo_lea) March 25, 2020
This story broke my heart. One of the accused was a bright kid who scored 18 points and was studying law and now might be facing life in prison and Sipho was one guy that worked hard to finance his dream and make it out there.Two lives ruined. It’s heartbreaking #justiceforsypho https://t.co/7P1rNCoVFs
— Tanaka (@passionvictimzw) March 26, 2020
This was my brother Sipho “Sypho” M Ncube he taught me to be cool and calm he forced me to keep my beard cause It suited me and some idiots murder him cause of a phone,Phone imagine manje iyi tirikutoda endgame so let’s start something here let’s start #JusticeForSypho pic.twitter.com/EXEgMgLaYW
— Madzibaba Essence (@EssenceZw) March 25, 2020
— syphoworldwide_fanpage (@SyphoworldwideF) March 25, 2020
It could be said that the popularity of the #JusticeForSypho hashtag logically implies that contrary to the admission of crime that Mawadze, Saungweme and Balani did, justice might be compromised because the accused comes from a background of judicial privilege as his father is a Masvingo High Court judge. What is not forthcoming is whether this belief is premised on a beyond reasonable doubt formula, a balance of probabilities standard, or a more intuitive sense of right and wrong.
The required burden is beyond reasonable doubt. It is more than a technical rule; it is a guaranteed right which must be complied with by the court in reaching its conclusion. The justifications for this threshold include a recognition of the freedom and good name of every individual, the dangers of a wrongful conviction, and the dissymmetry in power between the State as prosecutor and the individual defendants.