HARARE – Relatives, friends and music lovers yesterday wept after jazz sensation Dudu Manhenga was jailed for an effective one-and-half-years over a culpable homicide charge.
Harare magistrate Blessing Murwisi sentenced Manhenga to two years in prison before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour within five years of her release.
She faced a further three months in prison for another charge of driving using a learner’s licence without supervision, which had an option for a $300 fine.
In passing sentence, Murwisi considered that the jazz maestro was a first time offender and mother of four children but said she exuded gross negligence by driving using a learner’s licence without supervision.
“Our courts have always treated female offenders leniently and wherever possible kept them out of prison, because there is solid scope for them to reform,” Murwisi said.
“However, what is more aggravating is that accused (Manhenga) turned right in front of oncoming traffic and such negligence put the life of an innocent road user at risk. She failed to exercise caution and skill and was not under supervision.”
Charges against the songstress, who is a trainee pastor, arose after she hit the now deceased, Graham Martin in Mabelreign, Harare in March 2010.
In mitigation, Manhenga’s lawyer had pleaded for a no-custodial sentence and said the accident was a result of contributory negligence.
He said the now deceased Martin contributed to his death by riding a motor bike without a helmet.
He argued that head injuries sustained by the deceased could have been avoided had he worn a helmet.
However, prosecutor Barbra Ndoro argued a fine would “trivialise the offence and make the public lose faith in the justice delivery system.”
Manhenga was convicted on her own plea of guilty, after she accepted responsibility for Martin’s death.
Martin sustained serious injuries and died upon admission at West End Hospital.