Police are worried that Tafadzwa Shamba (40), the prime suspect and witness in the ritual murder of seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore (Junior), could be leading investigators on a wild goose chase owing to his suspected mental condition.
Exactly 46 days since the murder took place, police are still to conclude investigations on account of Shamba’s “unreliable” and “incoherent evidence”.
There have also been inordinate delays in releasing the results of forensic tests done on dismembered body parts recovered near the crime scene.
Police detectives recovered a torso and legs, which are believed to belong to the deceased, and submitted them for DNA tests to ascertain whether or not they belong to the minor.
A head — believed to be of another minor — was also discovered in the same village, but there are, however, indications it could have been exhumed from a grave.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they were expecting DNA test results soon.
He said police were increasingly concerned about Shamba’s incoherent statements.
Shamba has admitted to beheading Tapiwa with the help of his employer, Tapiwa Makore (Senior), who is the boy’s uncle.
“The investigations are going on and we are waiting for the DNA test results, because that will determine our next step,” he said.
“But we are concerned with Shamba’s mental state. He appears to act normally sometimes and at times it appears as if he is trying to mislead investigations. We are, however, doing everything within our power to conclude this investigation as soon as possible.”
Traditional custom prohibits the Makore family from interring the boy’s remains with his head unaccounted for, leaving them in a quandary.
Family spokesperson Ms Beulah Musupai said the family would wait for the investigations to be concluded.
“So far, we are waiting for the police, whom we last spoke to on Tuesday and they said they are still investigating,” said Ms Musupai.
“We were told that the DNA test results will be released to the police, who will in turn hand them over to us after concluding investigations.
“As a family, we are just waiting, there is nothing more we can do at the moment. We will wait to hear from the police.”
Tapiwa’s father, Mr Munyaradzi Makore, told our sister paper The Herald last week that the family would consider burying the deceased without the head if forensic tests confirm that the torso is indeed his.
“We have paid US$330 and we hope to pay the balance on collection of the results. The results will determine the burial date,” he said.
“If the torso is indeed his, then we may proceed to bury the available parts of the body, but it is strange.
“Burying a headless body?”
— Sunday News