When I read this newspaper report on a gruesome ritual killing case in Zimbabwe, I remembered what my Zimbabwean friend Muchaneta Nyambuya had told me in Monrovia in the late 1970s.
We were then both teaching at the University of Liberia and we were discussing the wave of ritual killings in the country. I asked him about these horrible practices. ‘Did they only happen in Liberia?’ ‘Did they also happen in other African countries?’ Mucha looked at me, paused, and when he spoke again he didn’t give me a straight answer, but instead returned my question: “Do you think it’s different in other countries?”
It was only much later that I became familiar with the phenomenon of ‘muti murders‘. ‘Muti‘ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine‘. ‘Muti murders’ are ritualistic murders and occur not only in the Republic of South Africa, but in other countries in Southern Africa as well. So, also in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, as Mucha’s country was then still called. Forty years after Mucha and I spoke about these age-old practices, apparently, some people in Zimbabwe still believe in the power of ‘muti’. (webmaster FVDK)
By Lex Vambe
Published May 25, 2018
Homicide detectives in Mutare, Zimbabwe, are battling to put pieces together and solve how a man who was initially believed to have been killed in a hit-and-run accident ended up with some of his body parts missing. The mysterious incident which happened in Zimunya on Monday has left villagers with their mouths ajar with many now pointing to ritual murder.
In a bid to conceal the heinous crime, perpetrators of the ritual murder dumped the body of the deceased man in the middle of the road along the Mutare-Masvingo highway.
They wanted it to be overrun by vehicles, conceal evidence and subsequently put traffic cops on a wild goose chase. Indeed some vehicles ran over the body.
Naturally, traffic police officers attended the scene, believing it was a genuine matter that falls under their purview, but they soon raised their homicide counterparts upon realising that they have been sold a dummy.
The corpse had some body parts missing around the private parts area and finger nails.
When The Weekender attended the scene, traffic police officers had moved the body of a man, who is yet to be identified to the roadside where they conducted further examinations.
The cops, who refused to talk to the Press citing protocol, quickly contacted the homicide section and advised them that they suspected murder.
From the crime scene investigations, the road traffic incident was a decoy.
Villagers quickly gathered at the scene and they told horror cases of ritual murders that have ravaged their community in recent months.
They said they were now living in constant fear while some were now escorting their children to school. Walking at night in the area is now considered dangerous.
An elderly villager who only identified herself as Gogo MaSibanda said the area was now a hunting ground for criminals. She said most of the murders were being perpetrated in Chigodora and bodies were being dumped there to cloud police investigations.
“I suspect that this man was killed for ritual purposes. Whoever did it went on to dump him on the road so that the body would be run over and destroy evidence. The plan has evidently failed,” she said.
Source: PaZimbabwe, May 25 2018
Related article treating the same crime:
Ritual killing dumped on highway to disguise murder
By Staff reporter
Bulawayo 24 News
25 May 2018, 6:50 hrs