Death in ‘quit beer’ dispute

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Munyaradzi Musiiwa/Sukoluhle Ndlovu, Midlands Reporters
POLICE in Shurugwi have arrested a 34-year-old man who fatally axed his wife who had taken him to a self proclaimed prophet to get some prayers to assist him quit beer and start going to church.

The dreadful incident occurred on Monday around midday, when Tapuwa Chinyama (34) of Village 3 Beacon Kopje, Shurugwi, struck his wife of two years, Ms Betserai Shava (38) with an axe on the head and neck while his eight-year-old stepdaughter watched.

The couple allegedly had a long standing dispute over Chinyama’s drinking habits and Ms Shava had been mounting pressure on him to quit beer and start going to church.

Chinyama allegedly caused a stir at a police station in Shurugwi where he attempted to commit suicide by banging his head several times on a toilet chamber claiming that he was having visions of his dead wife’s spirit tormenting him.

Chinyama was not asked to plead when he appeared before Shurugwi Magistrate, Mr Tayengwa Sangster facing murder charges.

He was remanded in custody to next Friday.

Mr Sangster advised Chinyama to apply for bail at the High Court.

Mr Pride Gomera for the state said on January 8 at around 12 noon, Chinyama and Ms Shava together with their daughter approached a self-proclaimed prophet from the same village seeking spiritual guidance and counselling so that Chinyama would quit beer.

After the prayer session Ms Shava and her daughter left while Chinyama remained behind.

Chinyama later caught up with the two near a stream about 80m from the prophet’s shrine.

He allegedly took out an axe which he had hidden in a nearby bush and struck Ms Shava on the head and neck while his stepdaughter watched before he fled from the scene. Ms Shava died on the spot.

The daughter rushed back to the prophet’s homestead where she reported the murder.

The matter was subsquently reported to the police leading to the arrest of Chinyama.

Chinyama who was supposed to appear before the Shurugwi court in the morning, had to be rushed to hospital after attempting to commit suicide but was brought to court in the afternoon.