BY NOBERT MUZONDO
Murder is a crime that is punishable by death in Zimbabwe.According to section 47 of the Codification and Reform Act Chapter,9:23,murder is defined as the intentional killing of a human being by another human being .If the killer is found guilt by the relevent court of law he or she must face the full wrath of the law by being given the death sentence.Exceptions to this punishment include those under eighteen at the time of commiting this heinous offence.
Women who are pregnant are also spared the hangman’s noose should they be found guilty of murder.The exoneration of pregnant women from the death sentence casts both moral and legal logic against killing one another in that when a woman is pregnant,she carries an innocent soul which in the event of complying with the dictates of the law ,to the exclusion of the legal exception ,would lead to the commission of the same murder by the State which the law is trying to deter.
Reasonably ,the law foresees that imposing a capital punishment on a pregnant woman is inhuman.This legal requirement is supported by our African ethical practice of never to kill a pregnant cow even if its the last in the pen.This belief is premised on the vital fact that life has to continue from one generation to the next and no matter which or what belief, human life is holy.
However,some are against capital punishment on the basis that the State can not exect capital punishment on its citizens since it will be breaching the right to life of its citizens.Advocates of this view may have their their motives but the intentional killing of a human being by another human being is both morally and legally wrong hence the need to pass a generally deterrant sentence which makes would be offenders to think twice before engaging in the illegal act which deprives other human beings of their God given right to life.
Killing of other human beings may take the form of infanticide in which a newly born baby is killed by its mother or father intentionally .It may take the form of stabbing one to death with knife,striking with an axe,shooting with a gun or even strangling one to death.One wonders as to whether humanity has been overtaken by the jungle which has no ethical principles to regulate their behaviour.
The contemporary society must take a leaf from the provisions of the law and respect the God given gift of life. it saddens the mind to note that human beings are finding pleasure in killing one another even at the slightest provocation.Only in the jungle do we see blood- bathing being celebrated by blood thirst beasts with no human instincts.
Most societies believe that a human being ,if killed,has a spirit which, fortunately ,resurrects to fight back at those responsible for the killing. In Shona society they say “chinorova chipfuwo kwete munhu” Simply translated to mean what goes forever after death is a domesticated animal but not a human being.This saying reminds us of the sanctity of life.The holy book supports this when we read that the blood of Abel was crying to God.Cain had caused the death of his brother and the blood cried out to God.
According to African Traditional Religion,if you spill innocent human blood,be reminded that the vengeful spirit of the victim will not find rest until redress is done by the family of the murderer with manifestation of the vengeful spirit including mental illness within culprit family.In addition to this ,barrenness and other related misfortunes dominate the welfare of the same culprit family.The fact that the State has passed a sentence of death on the actual pepetrator does not inhibit the vengeful spirit’s quest to be compensated.
The compensation usually takes a handful of beasts and cash.This usually affect the innocent within the family members.Therefore,think twice before spilling blood.Stand informed that “Mushonga wengozi kuiripa” .This simply mean the only cure for a vengeful spirit is to compensate it.Mark Ngwazi also reminds us of this in his song Mushonga wengozi.According to a welknown traditional healer in and around Mutare,one Sekuru Mukotsanjera Fungayi,the spirit of the victim of murder has to be appeased in order for the culprit family to find everlasting peace.He revealed this during a recent ceremony to appease the spirit of a man murdered for ritual purposes in Manicabridge ,42 years prior to the appeasement.
Reasons why another human being prematurely ends the life of another human being are, in most situations, unjustifiable before the society and the law.The law enforcement agents are grappling with reasons why people kill each other.It is disheartening to come across a lifeless body which met its death due to a dispute over trivialities such as a United States dollar credit or such a thing as bei!ng an infedelity suspect.Other baffling reasons include witchcraft suspicion upon the elderly who ,in most reported situations,groan to death ,giving up their last breath ,at the hands of their accusers,pleading their innocence.The accusers justify their act by believing that they are killing a witch or wizard whom they accuse of their unending misfortunes in life.One wonders whether the murder will open floodgates of fortunes.
Dehumanisation during uncontrollable bouts of anger result in the unfortunate death of most innocent people,especially closely related people.One may provoke the murderer by name calling such as “you are a dog”. Being called a dog or beating up somebody as if it were a dog leads to dehumanisation.It is not surprising that after the murder one is awakened to the fact that he will have killed another human being and not a dog.Lets avoid dehumanisation.
A human being was never created a dog and vice vesa.As human beings we should learn from Rwanda’s genocide in 1994 in which those who caused the death of innocent people likened those victims to cockroaches,a clear manifestation of dehumanisation..A human being will never be a cockroach, therefore killing a human being like killing a cockroach has its serious consequences such as facing a vengeful spirit or,facing a capital punishment.
Let’s avoid spilling blood whatever the motive.We ,of late have been shocked by incidences of ritual murders where an accused builds the actual intention to kill another person wanting to get rich quickly as a result of the belief that human blood increases market share in business.its rumoured that some even kill their loved ones for the purpose of charming customers.
These murder cases whose motive is amass riches through rituals have shocked the contemporary world.The courts are also frowning at this by passing death sentences.Taking a leaf from Tapiwa Makore’s murder case .Events before,during and after the murder point to nothing but inhumanity and cruelity at its peak.A sane being can not roast the innocent victim”s flesh and share the meat to unsuspecting traditional beer revellers as if it were meat from a bush buck.The horror of decapitating the young man’s head by the accused makes the mind to grow sick and the brain to shake with quivers of great fear.The society has to be socialised into anti murder mode yet at the same time avoid glorifying violence through the print and electronic media .Ritual murder does not pay.
Passion killing in which those who were involved in a love affair end up killing either of the partners is common.The Gweru case in which the jilted lover ended up shooting to death innocent women is still fresh in the minds of many.This callus murder in which a firearm was used to instantaneously take the lives of the intended victims shook the whole of the Zimbabwean society.We thank the powers that be that the killer who had vanished ,was tracked and hopefully he will face the wrath of the law soon.
Serial killers like the notorious Zhantale who prematurely ended lives of various women around the country do not deserve lenience of our esteemed courts at all.The most vulnerable group in society faced the most cruel and painful death at the hands of a sadist who hated the existence of women.Imagine one woman Nelia Maringe,a reverend ,who was struck to death on the head with an axe in Marondera after being raped.This goes for several unsuspecting women who met the same fate.Rumour has it that Zhantale had killed an innocent woman in Chegutu and that the spirit of the murdered woman would drive him into commiting more murders.
Another murderer Muvevi slaughtered three people in Wedza and one of the murdered includes an officer in the Zimbabwe Republic Police who died on duty as he tried to extend the long arm of the law towards the fugitive human killer.
Surely if one spills the blood of the innocent,the spiritual world is believed to frown at the spirit of the death inciting the deceased to fight back until redress is religiously met.We should not kill no matter how provoked.Its better to seek redress with the living rather than with the dead.The blood of the murdered cry.