EDITORIAL COMMENT: Wife killing must be condemned in strongest terms

The gruesome killing of a woman by her husband in Mutare’s Bordervale suburb last Friday night is shocking and ghastly to contemplate on.

It is the brutal manner in which the evil husband ruthlessly sliced the throat of his wife, while the couple slept in their matrimonial bed that boggles the mind and raises more questions than answers.

Elsewhere in this publication, we carry the heart-rending story of Elisha Murimba, who had been away from home for more than two decades, and upon his return, his unsuspecting wife, Victoria, welcomes him back into their home. But, sadly, the husband killed her in a callous manner.

What is clear is the husband had carefully planned to carry out this heinous act for reasons best known to him. Firstly, he brought into their bedroom a sharp weapon, which he used for the killing. Secondly, he allowed the wife to get into bed before striking at night when she least suspected it. Thirdly, he used darkness to make good his escape and it took many hours before the murder was discovered.

We are told the husband was away for more than 20 years and that he spent all this time in the United States, Nigeria and South Africa. No one really knows what he was doing all that time. The wife who was fending for the family all along never suspected anything and simply welcomed him back. Women by their nature are forgiving.

It is difficult to know whether the wife picked any tell-tale signs that her life was in danger. If telling red flags had arisen, an intervention from a third party such as a close relative or pastor would have been important to remind the wife that there are alternatives and help available.

Studies on domestic violence show that almost all cases of homicides committed by males against their female partners occurred after the female ended the relationship or announced her intention to do so. In the Bordervale case, we do not know whether the wife had told the husband of any intentions to sever their relationship.

Another theory could be that the husband, all these years he was away probably initiated himself into the world of Satanism. The cold-blooded manner in which he killed his wife has all the hallmarks of Satanism —barbaric and blood-curdling. The pictures of the scene of the killing are quite grisly.

The culture of domestic violence, particularly spousal killings, is reaching unprecedented levels in this country and there is need to address this issue. People are losing lives over petty issues because they are resorting to violence as a way of resolving disputes.

The Murimba case is not isolated. Domestic abuse and fatal cases of partner violence are global phenomena. According to the United Nations, 38 percent of murders of women worldwide are committed by their male partners, and partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 percent of women globally.

Most women are reluctant to report their abusive husbands for fear of reprisal. Sometimes the abuse escalates to extreme violence because women often stay in abusive relationships and the abuse endures and remains normalised below the surface. We need to remind each other that no individual has a right to take away another’s life, no matter what wrong is committed against them.

The challenge to Zimbabweans is therefore to find a solution to this growing culture of violence. Community leaders who include the church, traditional leaders such as chiefs, the political leadership and women’s groups should unite to preach against domestic violence.

Zimbabwe needs a society that appreciates the sanctity of life. Those wronged should desist from taking the law into their hands and attempt to mete out punishment or revenge. The consequences can be disastrous as witnessed in the past week.

To all right-thinking people, Murimba is the devil’s incarnate, a complete psychopath, who fantasised about killing his wife for reasons best known to hmself. He is incapable of showing love and should in turn not be shown any mercy. No mercy for the merciless.

Being the killer he is, he deserves no place in society and a life in prison best suits him. He may be on the run, but we trust that the long arm of the law will eventually catch up with him.