Popular hairdresser Yvonne Mitchell Mafuta’s death: Harrowing details emerge

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EVENTS leading to last week’s gruesome murder of popular Mutare hairdresser, Ms Yvonne Mitchell Mafuta, has opened a Pandora’s box with different schools of thoughts emerging.

The 34-year-old Ms Mafuta was recently found dead in a pool of blood in her apartment, with indications that she had been bleeding from her nose.

Acting Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka said Ms Mafuta was allegedly murdered between Sunday 21 January and Tuesday 23 January at her Guide Court apartment in Mutare.

“The suspected murderer is an unknown male adult. Events leading to her death are that on January 20, the now late Ms Mafuta tasked a taxi driver, Mr Love Mutoro, to ferry her male friend to her apartment. She told him that he was a visitor from the United States of America.

“Mr Mutoro picked the visitor in the city centre and drove to Ms Mafuta’s apartment. The next day around midday, Ms Mafuta contacted Mr Mutoro and told him that she would call him later to pick the visitor and take him to the bus terminus, but she never called.

“On January 24, Ms Mafuta’s workmate, Ms Pixie Ulemu Tauro proceeded to Ms Mafuta’s apartment to check on her since she had not reported for work. She found the doors and windows locked. She tried to call her, but her cellphone went unanswered,” said Assistant Inspector Chinyoka.

He said Ms Tauro called Ms Mafuta’s sister, Ms Cathrine Mafuta, who rushed to the apartment.

“The two noticed that the door was locked from inside, and they broke the window panes using a stone. They took the keys and opened the door. The went upstairs to Ms Mafuta’s bedroom and found her dead lying in a pool of blood.

“Catherine made a report at Mutare Central Police Station. Police went to the scene and found that the deceased’s feet were on the floor. She had bled from the nose. The body was in its early stages of decomposition.

“The apartment had been ransacked, with clothes scattered all over the floor. The body was taken to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for a post-mortem,” he said.

The whereabouts of Ms Mafuta’s boyfriend is unknown as he disappeared after the gruesome murder.

According to Assistant Inspector Chinyoka, police interviews with Ms Mafuta’s sister and friends revealed that the deceased had US$6 000 which she intended to use to buy a motor vehicle.

It is suspected that the money might have been stolen.

The deceased’s Iphone is also missing.

The taxi driver, Mr Mutoro, regrets being involved in this tragic incident as his name has been featuring prominently in various social media debates.

“I am deeply hurt about the things that I read on social media. It is sad that people abuse social media to this extent.

“When Mitchell contacted me to take her visiting boyfriend to her apartment, she would update me about his whereabouts like now he has passed the tollgate and now he is at Christmas Pass. I asked Ms Mafuta to avail the boyfriend’s contact details so that I could communicate with him directly.

“She told me that the guy was using a USA cellphone number so she would update me once he arrived. A few minutes later she called again, telling me to pick him up in town.

“I drove there as she had told me where he was. I am sure the guy had also been furnished with my details as well as the type of my vehicle and its colour.

“As I was looking for a parking space, he showed up asking if I was the driver sent by Mitchell. He got into the car and sat behind. I drove to Mitchell’s apartment.

“He paid 100 rand for the ride. Mitchell was waiting at the kitchen door since I had told her that we would be there in three minutes. He disembarked from the vehicle and I left them greeting each other.

“That was on January 21 around 5pm. The next day around midday, Mitchell called me to buy her some food from a restaurant in town. She asked for two plates of sadza with beef and sausage, respectively.

“Since I did not have the money, she told me to drive and collect the money from her apartment. She gave me R500 for the food and taxi service.

“I went to the restaurant and got the food. I drove to her apartment and delivered the food. Later that evening around 8pm, she called to ask if I would be able to take her boyfriend to catch the early buses to Harare the following morning. She said he wanted to catch the 6am bus. That was the last time I heard from her,” said Mr Mutoro.

In a statement, chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Cde Gertrude Mutandi wrote: “As women leadership, we are deeply worried and disturbed by such a tragic event. We are calling upon women to be wary of those they get into relationships with and to let others know who they will be dating.

“As the police are investigating the matter, we strongly urge women and youths to be wary of relationships, especially with strangers from online platforms.

“While the motive of the murder is still unknown, we strongly condemn the loss of life in such an evil way. We are also calling upon people with information to cooperate with the police so that the culprit is brought to book.

“We also call on women to exercise due diligence in terms of their relationships, and not to disclose financial matters to strangers as some will have ulterior motives.”

However, word on the streets of Mutare has it that the late Ms Mafuta had entered into a vehicle purchase deal with a local car dealer.

However, in the midst of the transaction, she was asked to top up some money since there had been a sudden price increase in importing the vehicle.

It is said that Ms Mafuta did not have the money to top up.

Said a source: “She claimed her money back since she could not afford to pay the requested top up. The car dealer allegedly refused to refund her. She allegedly hired the services of some bouncers to get her money back.

“After getting her money back, it is alleged that she did not pay the bouncers for their services. We cannot rule out the bouncers as suspects. Many people might have been aggrieved in the deal.”

Ms Mafuta is yet to be buried and her body was taken to Harare on Tuesday for post-mortem.

Her family members said they are not yet ready to comment on the issue.

Apparently, Ms Mafuta’s murder comes at a time when there is an upsurge of murder cases in the province and the country at large.

Only last week, a man allegedly slit open his nephew’s throat with a kitchen knife, killing him instantly.

In another case, a 75-year-old man died after being violently attacked by a machete-wielding gang that had barged into his Buhera home.

The violent crimes occurred in Mutero and Chiweshe villages under Chief Nyashanu.

During the same week, a Rusape man was murdered in cold blood by three assailants who are now fugitives from justice.

The three suspects allegedly waylaid Antony Shumbaimwe (30) of ZBS in Vengere who was walking with his girlfriend and stabbed him on the abdomen with a sharp object.

The suspects dumped Shumbaimwe’s body on the street.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the number of murder cases in the country are very high.

At least 1 453 cases were recorded in 2018, before rising to 1 733 the following year.

Between January 2020 and December 2021, 3 583 murder case were recorded.

Overall, the cases average 1 500 per year.

“A murder case is recorded every week. In some situations, even one or more, with the trend growing in all provinces,” police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi is on record saying this.

Most of the killings, according to the police, are crimes of passion, and are associated with alcohol abuse and rituals.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services also corroborate the same trend. Manica Post.

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