|Murdered at the age of 7 for suspected ritual purposes
Tapiwa Makore was a 7-year-old boy from Makore Village under Chief Mangwende in Murewa District, Mashonaland East Province who was brutally murdered on 17 September 2020 in a suspected ritual killing. He was the son of Linda Munyori and Munyaradzi Makore.
He was a Grade One learner at Nyamutumbu Primary School and his teacher was Keresia Makamure who described him as an intelligent, obedient child whose future was bright.
Tapiwa Makore Junior was sent by his parents to look after the garden on the morning of 17 September 2020.
Later that day, Tapiwa's parents went to the garden to do some watering and found that their son was missing.
His parents and some villagers started searching for him and the search was conducted until midnight but they could not find him.
On the following day, 18 September, in the morning, a neighbour reportedly woke up and discovered his dog and its puppies feasting on human body parts in his yard.
He then informed Tapiwa’s parents and a report was made to the police. The body's head was missing.
Herdboy, Tafadzwa Shamba
On 24 September 2020, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) arrested Tafadzwa Shamba (40), on kidnap and murder charges in connection with Tapiwa's disappearance and murder.
Shamba, a herdboy, was alleged to have connived with two other people to kill Tapiwa, harvest his body parts, and sold them for US$1 500. ZRP spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said:
It is alleged that Tafadzwa Shamba, a herd boy in the same village as the victim, worked with the other suspects to waylay the victim in a garden. They took him to a mountain where they kept him for the whole day. They then killed him at night and one of the other suspects, who is from Juru Growth Point, took away the head leaving the herd boy with the other body parts after promising to give him US$1 500 on coming back.
Police said they recovered the blood-stained clothes Shamba wore on the day he allegedly committed the crime.
Uncle, Tapiwa Makore
Tapiwa's uncle and namesake, Tapiwa Makore was arrested by the police on 27 September 2020 in connection with the boy's murder.
Tapiwa Senior was alleged to have worked with Shamba and a witch doctor to murder Tapiwa Junior and harvest his body parts.
Moud Hunidzarira of Budiriro, Harare, was arrested during the weekend of 31 October and 01 November 2020 following a tip-off by the public.
It was alleged that Hunidzarira was in Murewa when the murder occurred and a few days later was seen by some neighbours in Harare, cleaning an item that had blood.
She initially appeared before a Murewa magistrate on 02 November 2022 and was remanded in custody.
Two Murewa Villagers
Two Murewa villagers only identified as Mai Mungandire and Mai Katsande were arrested after information gathered revealed they bought human flesh from Shamba.
Another report identified the two women as Joina Tangirire, who sold beer at her homestead, and a relative, Enia Tangirire.
Beulah Makore, the family spokesperson was reported as saying the two women were picked up by the police on 01 November and they both admitted that they bought meat from the alleged killer but had no idea that it was human flesh.
The two women reportedly cooked the meat and ate and were taken to Murewa police station for further questioning and were also ordered to carry the pots that they used to cook the meat.
An 11-year-old boy from Nyamutumbu Village was allegedly paid US$5 to lure Tapiwa from the garden to his uncle’s homestead.
Tapiwa Makore (Snr) allegedly gave the boy $5 plus a T-shirt for his role and warned him against disclosing the matter to other villagers.
The boy is said to have handed over the money to his mother who kept the secret.
The mother is said to have used the money to buy chicken.
He was expected to testify as a witness in the murder trial.
Uncle, Thanks Makore
Thanks Makore (56) was arrested on 10 November 2020 in connection with the ritual murder of his nephew, Tapiwa, amid allegations that he was given the boy’s head and arms.
Thanks was said to be a twin brother of Tapiwa Makore Snr, and a cousin of Munyaradzi Makore, Tapiwa Makore Jnr's father.
Tafadzwa Shamba's Confession
On 29 September 2020, Shamba reportedly told detectives he killed the boy by cutting off the head with a knife in the dead of the night, while the boy’s uncle, Tapiwa Senior was holding a torch.
He said after the murder, he carried a black plastic bag containing the head and the dismembered body while his employer, Tapiwa Makore Senior, carried another bag containing the arms and legs.
Shamba also revealed that he kidnapped the boy, took him to his employer's house, fed him and then drugged him with kachasu and locked him up in a room for hours.
He said around midnight, he carried the boy to a mountain in the village where they killed him.
Shamba said after killing the boy, they went down the mountain and along the way, he dumped the torso near Summer Murwira’s homestead.
He said they took the head to Makore's homestead where they put it in one of the rooms.
The following day, Shamba said he dumped the arms and legs at a nearby grave.
Tafadzwa Shamba's Retraction
During his court appearance, Shamba disowned the confession he had allegedly made to the police soon after his arrest.
He claimed that he made indications under duress on how he killed Tapiwa, adding the police had crafted the narration to suit what they wanted.
But High Court Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi on 10 October 2022 ruled it was clear that Shamba was not forced into giving his account of events. Ruled the judge:
He (Shamba) gave indications under the belief that the second accused wanted him to go to prison so that he could enjoy the benefits of the cabbage deals they intended to benefit from after killing the minor for rituals.
It is the court’s view that his story is preposterous, he wanted to show the court that his indications were rehearsed, but positive results came out from the confessions as it led to the recovery of the body parts. If it was rehearsed the police would not have recovered the body parts.
His explanation that he wanted to exonerate himself by incriminating the second accused does not make sense.
Thinking he was exonerating himself by confessing is stupidity in the highest order, the daftness he tried to show in court was not believable.
Tapiwa was buried on 27 March 2021, about six months after his gruesome murder. He was buried without his head after the police failed to locate it.
His funeral was attended by scores of people who included politicians from ZANU PF, among them Mashonaland East Minister Apollonia Munzverengwi, Housing Minister Daniel Garwe, Chief Mangwende and Murewa senator and ZANU PF Politburo member, David Parirenyatwa.
His father, Munyaradzi, was the MDC Alliance branch chairperson in Murewa North.
Thanks Makore, Moud Hunidzarira Acquittal
On 13 October 2022, High Court judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi formally acquitted Moud Hunidzarira and Thanks Makore of the murder of Tapiwa Makore Jnr at the close of the prosecution case.
The State withdrew the charges against the two for lack of incriminating evidence.
As the charges were withdrawn after plea, the two can never be retried using any of the evidence led during their trial.
However, the prime suspects, who allegedly did the actual killing, Tafadzwa Shamba and Tapiwa Makore Snr, were placed on their defence after the court found there was overwhelming evidence linking them with the murder.
- , Kudzai Chingwe, Boy with United Methodist ties dies in ritual killing, Published 15 October 2020, Retrieved 28 November 2022
- , Victor Maphosa, JUST IN: Boy (7) murdered, body parts missing, Published 21 September 2020, Retrieved 28 November 2022
- , Herald Reporter, Herdboy arrested over Murehwa murder, Published 25 September 2020, Retrieved 28 November 2022
- , Victor Maphosa, JUST IN: Murewa murder: deceased’s uncle picked, Published 28 September 2020, Retrieved 28 November 2022
- , Crime Reporter, Murehwa murder: Woman in court, Published 03 November 2020, Retrieved 28 November 2022
- , Robert Tapfumaneyi, Murewa Villagers Arrested After Buying, Eating Flesh Of Murdered Boy, Published 03 November 2020, Retrieved 28 November 2022
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