By Sibusisiwe Ngulube
In a fit of rage a Zhombe man razed his mother in law’s hut with six minors sleeping inside following a long standing family dispute.
Dickson Phiri’s intent in committing the acts of arson has been interpreted as revenge after his mother in law Getrude Moyo took her daughter who happens to be Phiri’s wife from their matrimonial home to her place.
The name of Phiri’s wife was not mentioned to Kwekwe Magistrate Story Rushambwa.
Phiri is believed to have been afflicting physical abuse on his wife.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges as he claimed his mother in law was making false accusations against her.
“My mother in-law is making false allegations against. We had a misunderstanding with her daughter that is why she is now falsely accusing me burning her hut an act which I did not commit,” he said in his defence.
He said he was arrested after police said the footprints found in his in-laws yard belonged to him after it was traced to his place of residence.
Moyo however, said his son in law is very abusive.
“Phiri took my daughter in 2013 at a young age after impregnating her,” Moyo said.
She further testified that following her husband’s death Phiri started to be abusive towards her daughter.
“Following the death of my husband he started to assault my daughter and threatened to kill her with a machete,” she said.
The continued abuse Moyo said led her to take her daughter in her homestead.
Moyo however, told the court that although she did not see the accused committing the offence a relation of hers identified Phiri committing the offence.
The witness Nkosiyabo Ndlovu said he saw Phiri torching the hut.
“I passed by my aunt’s place around 2.00 am as I was on my way to the bus-stop. When I approached the yard l saw fire coming from the kitchen hut and saw Phiri torching the hut.
“When l tried to stop him he ran off by the footpath towards his yard. We later traced the footprints to his yard,” he said.
Properties such as blankets and kitchen utensils were destroyed in the fire and nothing was retrieved.
The matter was postponed to 24th May 2019.