Abel Zhakata Mutare Bureau
HEADMAN Isaac Nyamana’s traditional court turned into a bloodbath recently as villagers exchanged blows in the middle of a ritual murder case hearing in which a suspect was arraigned to answer allegations of killing a 12-year-old schoolboy last month.
All hell broke loose after villagers clashed on what to do with the suspect, Jonathan Makuwaza, with some opting to mete instant justice on him, while others said justice must be left to take its course.
Matters came to a head after one of the enraged villagers punched Makuwaza, who was sitting in the middle of the court.
It turned into a free-for- all with Headman Nyamana and his aides fleeing the court for safety. Villagers attacked each other with all sorts of weapons, turning the court into a fierce battlefield that left bloodstains all over the place.
As the fighting raged on, the fleeing Headman Nyamana screamed saying the villagers must not kill the suspect as he was innocent until proven guilty.
He urged the villagers to cool down their tempers as they will face the full wrath of the law in meting out instant justice.
“If you kill anyone, it’s murder and all those involved will be rounded up and charged accordingly. You now want to beat up this person at my court yet you see him daily in the village. I don’t want to be a witness to the dirty things you are doing. We have gathered here to solve this matter, but you are now disrupting proceedings because of violence. What this means is that I cannot handle this case anymore. I am referring it to the chief’s court,” he said.
As men fought, women screamed on top of their voices from the periphery saying the murder suspect must get a thorough bashing for allegedly killing Langton Musere, whose body was found heavily mutilated on the banks of Murere River.
Several people sustained injuries.
The death of the innocent boy has sent shivers among many parents in the village who were forced to escort their children to and from school.
The court hearing, which is a culmination of revelations by traditional healers in Chipinge who pointed to Makuwaza as the one responsible for the boy’s murder, was meant to question the suspect over the allegations.
Following the boy’s murder, the traditional leadership in Chitora Village together with the boy’s parents visited traditional healers in order to fish out the culprit and Makuwaza’s name came out.
As word spread that Makuwaza was the suspect, who is also facing separate robbery charges for crimes he perpetrated in the village, hundreds of people thronged Headman Nyamana’s court to witness proceedings.
Before fighting broke out Village Head Gwarada in whose area the boy was killed chronicled how they visited the traditionalists and the outcome of the visit.
They visited two n’angas who both told them that Makuwaza murdered the boy for ritual purposes.
“We consulted two traditional healers who were quick to tell us what we wanted to know.
“The first n’anga said Makuwaza was the perpetrator of the murder and his revelations were confirmed by the second traditional healer. We came back and spread the news of what transpired. What is surprising is that Makuwaza is still denying the charges and we want this court to map the way forward. The death of the boy was a heavy blow on the Chitora community and up to this present day parents are living in fear.
“We can’t continue to live a life of uncertainty because of criminals who are preying on innocent children.
“If he is denying the charges like he is doing we challenge him to accompany us to as many traditional healers as he wishes to get the truth,” he said.