By Daniel Nemukuyu
A man, who lost a bid to marry his wife’s under-age sister following strong family resistance and demanded all the money he spent on the schoolgirl before fatally stabbing her, has been sentenced to 17 years in jail.
Simbarashe Munakamwe stabbed the 15-year-old school girl with a kitchen knife while chasing after her with a view to recover a school uniform she was wearing.
High Court judge Justice Herbert Chitapi found Munakamwe guilty of murder with intent under Section 47 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, but decided to slap him with a prison term after considering various factors.
The court found that Munakamwe was simply abusing his position as a provider and in-loco parent to the girl.
“The accused stood in loco-parentis towards the deceased because he looked after her by providing for her needs, said Justice Chitapi.
“It was, however, an abuse of such relationship for the accused to wish to make the deceased a wife at a tender age of 15. The accused’s conduct of starting a love affair with the deceased was therefore abusive. He knew that the deceased was under age of marriage when he engaged in a love relationship with her.
“Such conduct should be frowned upon by the courts which have the mandate under Section 19 of the Constitution to ensure that the best interests of children are made paramount.”
Justice Chitapi said the offence was committed in a brutal manner.
“The accused committed the offence in a brutal and callous manner using a knife, which is a dangerous weapon, he said. The deceased could not defend herself. She died a painful though quick death.
“The accused was selfish and cowardly in his conduct. He attacked a defenceless child. The murder was heartless, senseless and selfish.”
Facts were that on February 7 last year, Munakamwe had an altercation with his wife Rachel Kurwakumire over his affair with the young girl and his desire to marry her.
Ms Kurwakumire refused to prepare food for Munakamwe that evening and the dispute escalated to the extent of her travelling to her parents’ homestead in Mandaza Village, Mhondoro.
She reported the case to her parents who breathed fire over the man’s plans to marry the under-age girl.
Munakamwe later followed his wife to the village and arrived at his in-laws’ homestead drunk.
He reiterated his marriage demands, which were shot down by Ms Kurwakumire’s parents, with her mother exchanging harsh words with Munakamwe.
Munakamwe then demanded a refund of all the money he spent on the upkeep of the teenage girl and clothes that he bought before travelling back to Harare.
On February 11, Munakamwe went back to the village and waylaid the girl who was on her way to school in the company of friends.
He made a surprise appearance from a bushy area and ordered her to take off a school dress she was wearing since it was part of the clothes he had bought her.The Herald