Sibanda, 23, of Sizinda Flats in Bulawayo fatally stabbed Sithole, 28, in the chest using a screwdriver as they fought over the wardrobe bequeathed to them by their late father.
Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Andrew Mutema convicted Sibanda, who was initially facing a murder charge, of a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Sibanda had pleaded not guilty to murder and tendered a limited plea of culpable homicide in connection with the death of Sithole, born Mduduzi Sibanda.
He will serve an effective 12 months in jail after two years were suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar crime.
Both state and defence counsels had proposed a non-custodial sentence, arguing that mitigatory factors outweighed aggravating circumstances.
However, in passing sentence, Justice Mutema said a non-custodial sentence would send a wrong message to society and the courts had a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life.
“There was an unnecessary loss of life and it’s always the duty of the courts to uphold the sanctity of human life. Although Sithole was the aggressor who was persistent in attacking Sibanda, it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have avoided him. The matter could’ve been resolved in an amicable manner,” said Justice Mutema.
“You aimed at a vulnerable part of the body when you stabbed your half-brother and for that you’re sentenced to three years in jail of which two years are suspended for five years”.
Prosecuting, Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on December 10 last year shortly after 8PM, the two half-brothers, who shared the same mother but had different fathers, were involved in a quarrel over a wardrobe left behind by Sibanda’s father.
The altercation degenerated into a fist-fight with Sibanda claiming he was the rightful owner of the wardrobe.
Sibanda fled from his brother who had overpowered him but Sithole gave chase and caught up with him.
The court heard that while outside the flat, Sibanda, who was now armed with a screw driver, stabbed his half-brother once in the left side of the chest. “Sithole fell to the ground unconscious and Sibanda fled the scene,” said Ngwenya.
Family members and neighbours, who had vainly tried to stop the fight, rushed Sithole to hospital where he died on the same day.
Sibanda, who was on the run, was arrested on December 12 at Pumula Beer Garden in Sizinda after a tip off from members of the public. After his arrest, Sibanda led detectives to the recovery of the murder weapon, a screwdriver he had hidden in his bedroom.
According to the post-mortem report, the cause of Sithole’s death was haemothorax, aortic stabbing and chest stabbing.
Sithole, who was a cross-dressing man, masqueraded as a female athlete and competed at national and international level, scooping gold and silver medals.
According to reports, doctors and other practitioners who were present at the hospital when Sithole was stripped, were shocked to discover that ‘she’ was a man.
In mitigation through his lawyer, Kucaca Phulu, Sibanda pleaded for leniency, saying he was a sole breadwinner looking after his wife and two minor children.
Phulu said Sithole was a persistent aggressor, arguing that his client acted in self-defence.
“The moral blameworthiness of Sibanda was very low taking into account the circumstances under which the crime was committed and the fact that he is contrite,” said Phulu. The Chronicle