HARARE – Wadzanayi Mabika who is behind the death of 17-year-old Harare Girls’ High School pupil Jocelyn Gomba yesterday pleaded guilty to all six counts levelled against him.
The 41-year-old kombi driver — who ploughed into the schoolgirl a fortnight ago, before dragging her body under the vehicle — cut a remorseful figure as he acknowledged wrongdoing in the May 23 disaster.
It is the State’s case that the hit-and-run, which also injured two pedestrians, occurred on May 23, 2016 at around 1630 hours at the illegal rank situated at the corner of Leopold Takawira and Park Lane in Harare.
Among the six counts Mabika is facing are failing to report the matter to a police station or a police officer of the rank of sergeant or above within 24 hours of the occurrence of the accident, not lawfully stopping when the accident happened but rather fleeing to South Africa from where he was later arrested in Polokwane and not ascertaining whether any person was injured or killed when the accident occurred
He also faces a count of reckless driving and not rendering assistance.
Yesterday, Mabika did not resist the charges levelled against him, nodding his head as every count was read before the court.
A tear and sob interjected his every: “I accept.”
Among the particulars of negligence include travelling at excessive speed, driving on the face of oncoming traffic, failure to keep vehicle under proper control and failure to stop or act responsibly when the accident seemed imminent.
Mabika dismissed the notion that he could have been running away from something or someone, admitting the accident was due to negligence.
“I was trying to avoid a commuter omnibus that was reversing,” he insisted.
“The vehicle (a white Nissan caravan) moved faster than I expected.”
“I entered Leopold Takawira trying to avoid the reversing commuter omnibus that had blocked my way,” Mabika said.
“So, matsikiro andakazoita mafuta ndoakaita kuti mota imhanye papavement (the way I accelerated made the car race into the pavement),” he said.
Magistrate Elijah Makomo enquired why the accused did not stop when he realised he had ran over Gomba and bumped into two others, to which Mabika replied:
“I did not know that she was being dragged. I thought she fell over the side of the road,” he said.
The accused is being accused of disembarking his vehicle and disappearing from the scene, leaving the deceased schoolgirl trapped underneath the vehicle.
The kombi driver acknowledged the way he handled the vehicle was not what is expected from a prudent driver.
The matter was rolled over to today for mitigation and aggravation pending the production of the deceased schoolgirl’s postmortem report.
Leonellah Chitanda and George Manokore were prosecuting.