Masvingo murder statistics shocking: Judge


AT least three people are murdered every month in Masvingo, mostly over petty issues, blood curdling statistics released by a High Court judge reveal.

Tatenda Chitagu
Own Correspondent

Officially opening the Masvingo High Court Circuit Monday, judge Justice Francis Bere said the figure was shockingly high.

“I have noticed that over the years we deal with an average of 12 murder cases per circuit, which roughly translates to almost three murder cases per every month and these figures are too high for a small country like ours,” he said.

“It is disheartening to note that the majority of these murder cases are a result of minor issues.”

Bere is set to preside over 11 murder cases in the two-week long circuit in Masvingo, with cases from Zaka district (three), Mashava (two), and Bikita, Chiredzi, Gutu, Mashoko and Masvingo, with one case each.

He warned people not to resort to violence if they had differences.

“We must be concerned as a country with our strange appetite to resort to violence as a way to resolve our differences,” Justice Bere said.

“We must as a people learn to exercise restraint in the event of disputes and seek the intervention of both our traditional and civic leadership.

“Spilling blood invariably leads to further complications.

“Always remember animals quarrel and fight to stamp their authority over others, but man must learn to debate and discuss in order to have permanent solutions to their challenges.”

He urged the police to be techno-savvy while investigating cases and move with modern policing trends to avoid culprits walking scot-free due to lack of evidence.

“It occurs to me that there is need for the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) as an institution to enthuse itself with modern trends in investigations, especially when dealing with more complex matters such as rape, armed robbery and murder cases,” Justice Bere said.

“We would want to see more use of forensic examinations to avoid the culprits being let off the hook on some other technicalities.

“Cases which are brought to court must be fully and properly investigated and nothing must be left to chance . . . there is need for co-ordinated approach in ensuring that exhibits (the murder weapons) are properly accounted for.

“They must be measured and weighed and brought to court at the time the accused person is tried.

“We have in the past been frustrated by the apparent lack of enthusiasm on the part of those concerned to bring exhibits to court.”

Masvingo, a populous province of about two million people, which once topped the list of murder cases countrywide, has been a flashpoint of politically motivated murders as well as crimes of passion.