THE trial of the four suspects implicated in the ritual murder of seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore Jnr of Murehwa two years ago, opened at the High Court in Harare yesterday.
Tafadzwa Shamba, Tapiwa Makore Snr, Moud Hunidzarira and Thanks Makore were formally charged with murder when their trial opened before Justice Munamato Mutevedzi.
They all pleaded not guilty.
In a heart-rending testimony, the mother of the boy, Ms Linda Munyori, told the court how her son left home for the family garden to mind birds on September 17, 2020, and never returned home. She asked her husband to accompany her to the garden around 3pm to pick vegetables.
“On arrival at the garden, I found his lunch box and a bottle of water near the garden fence but could not locate him,” Ms Munyori said.
They searched but found nothing and then other villagers helped, but with no result.
Ms Munyori said the following day, some of the other villagers were asked to go to the homestead of Summer Murwira while she was asked to go home, which she did. At 3pm police arrived and told her that there was a torso that had been recovered at Murwira’s homestead.
A few days later she was taken to Parirenyatwa hospital to provide samples for DNA tests to link the body parts with her son.
Lawyers acting for the four accused did not question her much. But Shamba’s lawyer, Mr Moses Mavhaire, asked Ms Munyori if she had tangible evidence to link his client with the murder.
Ms Munyori replied: “When he (Shamba) was brought home by the police, he did not waste his time as he apologised in front of the police and the people who were there.”
Another witness Ms Julia Kamunda testified that on September 17, 2020, Ms Munyori came to her homestead crying and told her that her son was missing. She joined the search party but no one could find the boy until the next day when news filtered through that the boy’s remains had been found at Murwira’s homestead.
She told the court that when Ms Munyori came to her homestead, her son, upon hearing that his cousin was missing, told them how the boy left the pool where they were swimming after being called by Shamba who said he had been sent by the boy’s uncle, Makore Snr, to collect him.
The trial was adjourned to today when Ms Kamunda will be questioned by the lawyers.
Tapiwa Makore Jnr was allegedly murdered by his uncles in September 2020 in Nyamutumbu village, Murehwa. According to one alleged confession, the boy was drugged, killed and mutilated so that they could sell his body parts to a witch doctor for US$1 500.
The family faced continued grief after enduring over six months without laying his body to rest. The boy’s head could not be located until the time of his burial.