EDITORIAL COMMENT: Gory murders — what is society coming to?

okapi knife

OUR front page is literally dripping with blood as it contains three articles on spine-chilling murders committed with callousness and ruthlessness that should alarm right thinking members of society. It doesn’t matter that the incidents happened in three different localities — Gwanda, Gokwe and South Africa — the brutality and violent nature of the dastardly deeds is the common thread that connects them.  

In all the three murders — the assailants clearly showed they have absolutely no respect for the sanctity of human life as exhibited by their cold-heartedness. Our hearts particularly go out to the Dlomo family of Gokwe South who lost all their four daughters — three of them minors — after unknown assailants brutally murdered them, ostensibly for ritual purposes. At around midnight on Friday, the assailants cornered the sisters, two of them in Grades Two and Seven while another one was in Form Two and aged 14. The eldest sibling was in her 20s and married. She met her fate after visiting her family.

According to surviving family members and Chief Mukoka of Chirima Village where the incident happened, the sisters were beheaded before the assailants threw their bodies into a hut and burnt it down. They then took the heads and probably other body parts, away to be used for ritual purposes. This is shocking even by Gokwe standards where the most bizarre of occurrences have been recorded in Zimbabwe.

There is widespread belief in witchcraft in that part of the country and we can only speculate that the suspects in this mass murder of innocent little girls were driven by a desire for riches. This is very unfortunate given that there is no empirical evidence linking the use of body parts in ritual proposes to success in business. This is primitive thinking inherent in lazy people keen on cutting corners or amassing ill-gotten wealth.

Four poor souls have lost their lives in the most violent of ways just because some businessman in a far-flung corner of Gokwe has decided that he needs human heads and other parts to boost his business. How unfortunate. What is equally worrying is the fact that this is not the first ritual murder to be recorded in the country this year. More and more people are resorting to desperate measures to acquire wealth with two recent cases coming to mind.

We have reported on a man from Gwanda South who allegedly murdered a homeless man from Colleen Bawn and harvested his head and testicles after being promised $25 000. Earlier this year, the country was also held spellbound by the antics of suspected serial killer Rodney Tongai Jindu of Glengarry suburb in Bulawayo who allegedly murdered two men after being promised a lot of money by a South African inyanga. Zimbabwe used to be a peaceful country with one of the lowest crime rates in the world but of late there has been a surge in violent crime.

Murders and armed robberies are on the increase and our law enforcement agents should devise ways of arresting this trend. As we report elsewhere on our front page, a woman from Gwanda poisoned her two children aged six and two years, axed her employer’s mother and committed suicide following an altercation with her employer where she worked as a maid. Lerato Moyo (30) from Sengezane on the outskirts of Gwanda is said to have drunk a dip chemical after fighting with her employer only identified as Mrs Nyathi. She also allegedly gave the poison to her two children and axed her employer’s 80-year-old mother. Her children are admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital, but the granny she axed was treated at the United Bulawayo Hospitals and discharged.

In another article, a Zimbabwean pastor and his wife were shot and killed by two armed robbers in South Africa while their two daughters, one of them aged three years, watched helplessly. The armed robbers went away with two cellphones and a laptop. While the South African incident should ordinarily not raise eyebrows given the alarming crime rate in that country, it is the proliferation of violent crime in Zimbabwe which is a cause for concern.

The Gokwe incident especially riles us due to its gruesome nature. We agree with Chief Mukoka who expressed disgust at the manner in which the killings were carried out. He told The Chronicle: “Things that happen nowadays are really scary. I do not know how a normal person can have the strength to kill four people, including helpless children.

People should repent because society has become very unsafe for our children”. We urge the police to track down the assailants and bring them to book.

While we don’t believe in vigilante justice or the notion of an eye for an eye, we hope the perpetrators of this heinous crime get their comeuppance.

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