Game ranger to hang over murder

via Game ranger to hang over murder by Staff Reporter NewZimbabwe 30/09/2013

 A GAME ranger was on Monday sentenced to death after shooting a man 10 times during a botched operation to arrest elephant poachers.

Trigger-happy Maxwell Bowa, 53, shot Lennon Nkosana, 29, as he fled from a kitchen hut which had been surrounded by a 10-man strong team of rangers from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management and uniformed police officers.

Justice Lawrence Kamocha of the Bulawayo High Court, on circuit in Gweru, heard how the team of rangers and police officers went on patrol in the Simchembo area of Gokwe on June 12 last year trying to track down poachers and locate ivory.

The rangers had intelligence that a local man, Tanaka Nyoni, was a poacher and may have had some ivory hidden away, said Tafadzwa Mupariwa, prosecuting.

When the rangers and police failed to locate Nyoni, the court heard, they went to the Nkosana homestead where they allegedly tried to extract information about poachers by assaulting all those present, some hit with the butt of their guns.

The victim, said the prosecutor, bolted from the hut and Bowa pulled the trigger, shooting him at least 10 times as he fled.

After the shooting, the rangers and the officers left the scene. Bowa was only arrested after the victim’s brothers who witnessed the killing filed a police report.

Justice Kamocha told Bowa, who had pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, that he had shot an innocent man in cold blood, as he sentenced him to face the gallows.

Zimbabwe has not carried out any executions since 2005 when armed robbers and convicted murderers Edgar Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo were hanged.

[see for petition against ruling]   



  • comment-avatar
    Angela Wigmore 9 years ago

    Unless it can be proved that Maxwell Bowa had a personal grudge against the man he shot, I do not think a charge of murder and the death penalty are appropriate. If Lennon Nkosana had nothing to hide, why did he try to flee? I know nothing about guns but assume an automatic (if that’s what the accused had)easily lets rip with more bullets than may be intended. Poaching is out of control and a very serious matter. Game rangers should not be demoralised and afraid to do their jobs because of fear of prosecution. I shall sign the AVAAZ petition.

    • comment-avatar

      The whole story is incorrect,he heard gunshots whilst sleeping in his room.When he tried to find what was happening outside,he met ten bullets at the door!

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      Rosie 8 years ago

      Angela he fled because the rangers were whacking the inmates of the hut with the butts of their rifles. You mean to say that an innocent bystander is guilty because he tried to avoid being beaten up with a rifle butt ?

  • comment-avatar

    …that is what happens when you allow rangers to carry lethal weapons, they will start thinking that they are now the police or army. However the death penalty for this case is grossly unjust…

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    hasting banda 9 years ago

    I am not the legal expert but from the facts death sentence in this case has been misapplied. The problem with our judiciary is that the real murderers those for example who murdered in cold blood in 2008 opposition members are scott free enjoying their lives. Here is a poor man who could have lost it in the line of duty goes to the gallows, what hapenned to justice in our country.

  • comment-avatar
    Ivor Payne 9 years ago

    The new constitution only allows for the death penalty for murder in “aggravating circumstances” – which are undefined. If this report is correct, Kamocha seems to want to give an extremely broad definition to this, rather than a narrow one which accords with the right to life. The matter will go on appeal and we will see what the Supreme Court/Concourt have to say.