Four found guilty sentenced to 10 years Imprisonment
SOFA’s main mandate is to protect animals and promote their welfare through the legal system and this is achieved through monitoring cases to ensure justice for the animals. This involves proper and robust monitoring of the cases from the gathering of evidence, drafting of the charge sheet, arrest of the accused, bringing them before the court within 48hrs up to the time when the court makes its decision (conviction and sentence). This is one of the mechanisms that Speak Out for Animals has put in place with regards to the poaching of Rhinos.
In December 2017, SOFA took on its first case monitoring assignment in the State v Makechemu and 6 others, a case in which Moga the Rhino, was a victim of a poaching incidence which took place in the Save Valley Conservancy. On the 17th of December 2017, at Save Valley Conservancy, Bikita, Masvingo, seven accused persons hatched a plan to hunt and kill some rhinoceros. An infringement of Section 45 (1) (a) of the Parks and Wild Life Act [Chapter 20:14] as read together with section 128 (1)(a) which prohibits the hunting or killing of a specially protected animal.
On the 9th of July 2018 after a full trial and at Masvingo magistrates court, four accused persons were found guilty of all charges and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on the 19th of July 2018, with the minimum mandatory sentence for hunting or killing a specially protected animal been 9 years. which provides that No person shall – hunt any specially protected animal.