As the country continues to struggle to deal with the Covid-19 and its socio economic effects which have made things gloomy and turned the world upside down, pre-meditated murder, suspected ritual killings and suicides have become an epidemic in Zimbabwe.
Premeditated murder is wrongfully and intentionally causing the death of another human being after rationally considering the timing or method of doing so, to either increase the likelihood of success or to evade detection or apprehension.
Suspected ritual killings of children have also been rampant across the country with the most prominent one being the murder of Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, allegedly by his uncle and a herd boy.
A few weeks ago a five-year-old child, Mitchell Musharu disappeared and was later found dead and dumped in a septic tank behind her parents’ shop in Bikita.
As if that was not enough, another child Nokutenda Chirandu disappeared on her way from school in Bikita and is yet to be located up to now.
The murder of both children and adults for what appears to be ritual purposes in Zimbabwe has brought a dark cloud over the country, and that needs urgent attention at both community and national levels.
A political and social commentator, Hosiah Chipanga told TellZim News that some old superstitious beliefs were being peddled by fake traditional healers (n’angas) that killing a person in a particular way and take certain parts of their bodies for processing creates wealth.
“The problem is caused by fake traditional healers who advice people to kill one another as a way to create and maintain wealth. We know the country is facing some economic hardships that have been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic but people should learn to work for their own money and to stop coveting what others have.
“The public should also note that the size of a well and dam are not equal so they should not covet those who are still flourishing in this Covid-19 period,” said Chipanga.
The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) president, George Kandiero distanced his association from the traditional healers who are said to be fuelling the ritual killings and has urged the community to report such cruel individuals.
“As Zinatha, we do not believe in ritual killings (kuchekeresa). People should learn to work rather than to kill other human beings for financial benefits. I advise the general public to desist from doing such acts. That stuff doesn’t work; such killings do not create wealth; it’s witchcraft.
“If you come across someone who is a member of Zinatha doing such things, we urge people to report that person to us and we will be more than willing to help to testify so that the person could be prosecuted to the full wrath of the law because our constitution and code of conduct does not allow such acts,” said Kandiero.
Commenting on the issue of suicide cases that have ballooned during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kandiero attributed the problem to lack of traditional counsellors to which people could find advice when faced with problems.
“As a society, we are losing our morals and culture. Long ago we used to have traditional counsellor structures cultural decadence has eroded all that. Such structures have been eroded. People now don’t have anyone to turn to when they face problems in life. I think as a nation, we need to turn back to our roots but those who go to church must seek assistance from church leaders.
“The other factor is the bad financial situation that many people are experiencing currently. Covid-19 destroyed a lot of businesses and incomes for many people. Some are failing to handle the economic situation that was deepened by the pandemic and they end up doing the unthinkable,” added Kandiero.
Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) Elias Jinjika said unequal distribution of resources and the desire for quick riches was a root cause for premeditated ritual killings and suicide.
“I think the uncontrollable desire to become rich quickly through the use of supernatural powers or any evil means is a major force that is causing the rise of ritual killings. Other issues that are causing the upsurge of these cases are unequal distribution of resources, poor planning and laziness among the people.
“I urge people to work hard and also to learn to wait for God’s time than to spill human blood. One cannot use evil means to attain good ends. The essence of being rich is to live a peaceful and enjoyable life,” he said.
Recently a male tractor driver Grey Chirimo (57), who was employed by Allied Timbers in Nyanga, was found dead in a suspected ritual murder with eyes missing.
Some elderly people with mental health challenges (dementia) are also falling prey to ritualists who take advantage of their loss of memory and disconnection from reality.
As each day pass, society is increasingly becoming unsafe for the old as well as for children who usually depend on others for their welfare.
Suspected ritual killings, suicide and culpable homicide is now a cancer which is eating up many communities in the country with no possible cure as many are joining this band of wrong doings.