Ritual murders must stop

HARARE - A dark cloud hung over the rest of the world on November 10, 1995 with news that Nigerian activist Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni people were executed in Port Harcourt by the late military hardman Sani Abacha.

International human rights organisations condemned the killing of the leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People as an outrage to humanity.

According to Green Peace International, Saro Wiwa was hanged for speaking out against the environmental damage to the Niger Delta caused by Shell Oil through its 37 years of drilling in the region.

It’s almost 16 years since the execution of these activists and most people outside Nigeria have forgotten about it. I am one of those who had never thought about it for a while since the country is now under civilian rule.

As I read with utter disgust the six suspected ritual murders in Domboshava, I just said to myself what have these innocent people done to warrant such cruel deaths?

Of course, Saro Wiwa and the other activists were killed for trying to make international capital like Royal Dutch Shell accountable.

Life is a gift from the Almighty and no one has any right to take away someone’s life for any reason.

If seven people can be killed ruthlessly in such a short space of time then what does it mean for the Chinamhora community and the generality of peace-loving Zimbabweans.

Do they not feel that they are missing some of the basic human needs like security and protection? This situation speaks volumes about the decaying moral values of society and the lax mentality of those charged with making our communities as safe as they should be.

One may be tempted to link these murders with the ever-increasing concern about material needs and the gospel of prosperity by many churches. Every street corner in the CBD in Harare there is a church promising you heaven on earth, spreading the “get rich now” philosophy.

Could this be that major drive why people are so daring as to hunt fellow human beings strip their private parts and get rich.

As I pondered the underlying reasons why such gruesome murders are taking place, I had the opportunity to ask some people on what they thought about these ritual murders.

Their responses opened a can of worms. One of them said “poverty has made people ruthless and prepared to do anything to get rich and the promises of instant riches by sangomas and prophets have led to the hardening of the people and make them ready for anything especially with tales that certain human body organs can fetch a Toyota Quantum in South Africa.”

The other said “The increase in Christianity has also attracted Satanism and Satanists are allegedly committing these ritual murders to drive Christianity underground”.

There can be many different explanations that people will give for these murders but the bottom line is that ritual murders be stopped forthwith by the responsible authorities before they become a new cancer in society.

The outraged Chinamhora community is still in a state of shock and if recent reports in the press that the community is unwilling to talk to anyone including members of the police are true, then a solution will not come quickly.

They need to cooperate so that their community will be safe.

The police are only functional to the extent to which members cooperate in order to weed out these rogue elements from their midst.

On their part, the police should strive to build constructive relationships with members of the public and have mutual understanding at all times.

Most people are generally afraid to volunteer information due to fear of being interrogated.

The police should demystify this fear as interrogation does not mean that one is guilty but perhaps the manner in which it is done makes people very uncomfortable. - Wellington Gadzikwa

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