End of the road for Murehwa boy Tapiwa Makore’s killer Tafadzwa Shamba

Murder suspect Tafadzwa Shamba demonstrates how he killed seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore during an inspection in loco at Makore Village under Chief Mangwende in Murehwa.

In a long-awaited judgment, Tafadzwa Shamba has been found guilty of murdering seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore Junior in Nyamutumbu village, Murehwa, on September 17, 2020.

The boy’s uncle, Tapiwa Makore Senior, has also been convicted of being an accomplice in the murder after he provided his house for the commission of the crime. The two will be sentenced on July 12 after the prosecution and defense have submitted their arguments in aggravation and mitigation.

Shamba confessed to the gruesome murder, stating that they killed the boy with the intention of selling his body parts to a witchdoctor for US$1,500. The body of Tapiwa was found disfigured and cut into pieces, sending tremors throughout the nation. Two other accused, Moud Hunidzarira and Thanks Makore, were acquitted at the close of the State case after the prosecution withdrew charges against them for lack of incriminating evidence.

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Shamba and Makore Snr were placed on their defense in October last year after the court found overwhelming evidence linking them to the murder.

The High Court Judge, Justice Munamato Mutevedzi, sitting with two assessors, found Shamba guilty of murdering the boy while Makore Snr was convicted of being an accomplice to the murder after the prosecution managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt, as required by the law in both cases.

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In the case of Shamba, he was convicted on the strength of the confession he made, supported by other evidence. He not only confessed to the murder but made indications that led to the recovery of the boy’s lower limbs dumped in a latrine. Shamba also led police to the house where the boy had been detained and other paraphernalia used during and after the murder, including a container with illicit brew which he had used to drug the boy. His confession was ruled to be free and voluntary.

In his confession, Shamba described in graphic detail how he kidnapped the boy, which was confirmed by a magistrate. All this taken cumulatively, with the rest of the evidence showing that the confession was not just a story, sealed Shamba’s fate.

On Makore Snr, the judge ruled that the court could not use the confession by Shamba to convict him and also found the independent evidence relating to his direct participation in the murder tenuous. The court had to rely on circumstantial evidence, and after discounting Makore Snr’s direct participation in the murder for want of evidence, the court ruled that he was embroiled in its commission in more than one way.

Justice Mutevedzi said they found that when Shamba kidnapped the boy from the community gardens, he took him to Makore Snr’s house where he was detained from 3 pm until about midnight. Shamba locked the boy in the house and went to a beer party where Makore Snr was. Makore supplied the beer that was used to drug the boy to facilitate his murder, according to the uncontroverted evidence adduced during the trial.

The court also noted that the confession by Shamba resulted in police recovering black plastic bags similar to those which Shamba claimed to have used to carry the boy’s limbs after killing him. Police also recovered a small animal tail which Shamba confessed had been used in the ritual to dissuade the victim’s spirit from avenging his death.

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