Story by Fungai Jachi, Courts Reporter
THE surge in brutal killings involving family members has become a major source of worry, with a week hardly passing without at least five cases being reported.
The old adage ‘blood is thicker than water’ no longer carries weight as the fabric that binds families together has been eroded.
This comes in the wake of a surge in brutal killings within the family setup since the beginning of the year.
Just last week, Arifas Chingwe aged 23 of Zaka was arrested after allegedly killing his father.
It is alleged that Chingwe assaulted his 46-year-old father using an iron bar and left him lying dead in a pool of blood after the two had a misunderstanding.
Another case recorded in Zaka is that of Efeso Chabata, who allegedly assaulted his father to death using a log after a misunderstanding over an unknown issue.
In Harare, two siblings Bruce and Changchu Chitaukire of Glen Norah were arrested for allegedly assaulting their father to death, accusing him of witchcraft.
In Gweru, a teenage step mother was arrested in connection with the murder of her 13-year-old step son.
It is alleged that the 17-year-old assaulted and strangled the boy for misbehaving before she tried to conceal the gruesome act by hanging the body on a tree.
What is even more disturbing is that in most of these murder cases are linked to drug and substance abuse.
Legal expert Mr Munyaradzi Nyengere said, ‘‘We do realise that with most of these murder cases, most of the perpetrators will be high on drugs and they will be irritable hence making it easier for them to kill. It is said really and maybe it will be better if the sentencing provisions would just be life imprisonment for anyone convicted of murder with actual intent.
“The major problem now is a drug and substance abuse as most of these cases involve people who will be intoxicated. If the problem of drug abuse is resolved I am sure there will be a general regard for human life once again.”
Another legal expert Mr Arkisayi Dhliwayo noted, ‘‘In my experience, usually murders within the family are caused by arguments arising from allegations of witchcraft and because people will be high on drugs they end up killing without even talking about the problems. These cases are increasing and maybe a mandatory sentence will deter would-be offenders.’’
The recent cases have renewed calls for Zimbabweans to unite in the fight against drug and substance abuse which has ripped families apart and is threatening to wipe away an entire generation.