Judge acquits man who crashed baby’s head with 39kg-stone 

Simbarashe Mtembo


MASVINGO – The issue of mental health problems in Zimbabwe continue to spiral into a crisis barely noticed by authorities.

This in mainly because the critical shortage of drugs for the mentally ill continues to go unaddressed resulting in heinous murders almost on a daily basis.

High Court Judge, Justice Garainesu Mawadze recently absolved a mentally challenged man Tauya Tafirei of murder after he crashed the head of a six-months old baby with a 39-kg stone resulting in the latter’s death.

Tafirei then went on to strike the toddler’s three-year-old sibling Sharlom Chingovo on the forehead with a 12kg stone also resulting in death. Justice Mawadze also acquitted another mentally challenged Simbarashe Magega, who struck and killed a 9-month baby strapped on her mother’s back with an iron bar.

Sitting at the High Court in Masvingo, Justice Mawadze ordered the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to take Tafirei to Chikurubi Maximum Prison Psychiatric Unit to be observed until he can be reintegrated back into society.  

Magega will be held at Mlondolozi Prison Psychiatric unit until he can be reintegrated back into society.

Tafirei attacked the two minors, Ruvarashe Chingovo (six months) and Sharlom Chingovo (3) at their homestead at Mazande Village under Chief Gutu on August 13, 2019. The court heard that Tafirei was passing through the homestead and he lifted a stone and crashed Ruvarashe who was being held by Tivakudze Chingovo in the kitchen.

He then moved out of the kitchen, picked up a 12kg stone and struck Sharlom who was four metres away from the kitchen with it and she fell down and died. The deceased children’s mother Sunungurai Charava called out for help from neighbours and when they arrived Ruvarashe and Sharlom were already dead.

Tafirei was mentally ill since 2012.

Magega committed the heinous act on January 8, 2019 in Renco at around 7 pm after he suddenly came out of a bush and greeted Vimbai Madhongoye who was carrying her nine-month old child on her back.

Madhongoye allegedly snubbed and frowned at the greeting and Magega began assaulting her with an iron bar. Madhongoye covered her head and Magega hit the infant on the head and disappeared back into the bush after a passerby threatened him.

The child was rushed to Nyahombe Clinic where she was transferred to Chiredzi Hospital but died before admission.

The court also heard that Magega’s mental illness was also hyped by the abuse of drugs and alcohol which have become a cancer in society.

Recently Elias Chimbuya (27) and Adonia Moyo (29) were given life sentences for murdering Tafadzwa Chiumba (35) over a twist of dagga. The two confessed in court that they had smoked dagga and were intoxicated when they committed the act.

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