A JILTED Mashonaland West province man, who was facing four counts of murder, was last Thursday slapped with a 35-year jail term after being convicted for killing his wife, son and two nieces in a fit of rage.
Mathias Tembo, who is from Nyangahwe village in Chundu, Karoi, is said to have doused a hut in which his wife, Zvisinei Kwaibvawani, was sleeping with her son, Atlas, and nieces, Lydia and Florence Chawawa, with petrol before setting it alight.
He will, however, serve a 20-year effective jail term for his wife’s death, after High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba ordered that a 15-year jail term, in respect of the other counts, would run concurrently with the 20-year jail term.
The murder is said to have occurred after Tembo’s father-in-law, Chitanga Kwaibvawani, ordered his daughter to leave her husband and return home, as he had not paid lobola.
However, when Zvisinei left, Tembo is said to have sold his bicycle, bed and radio in a bid to raise $150, which would go towards lobola, but after selling his assets, he only raised $120.
Determined to get his wife back, Tembo is said to have contacted her and told her how much he had raised, but the latter is said to have told him she was no longer interested in him because she had found a new lover and further warned him not to interfere with her relationship.
This did not go down well with Tembo, who then bought petrol, which he used to set the hut ablaze.
After killing his wife, Tembo is said to have bought some rat poison, which he consumed in a bid to commit suicide, but failed to succumb to it.
Justice Chigumba said Tembo’s blameworthiness was not very high, since his actions were influenced by a high degree of provocation, because his wife had sent him a text message that she was moving on with another man, yet he had sold all his property to pay lobola for her.