Driving to Makore Village under Chief Mangwende in Murehwa, children no longer talk to strangers no matter any amount of cajoling. The message has sunk, don’t talk to strangers lest you meet Tapiwa’s fate.
The recent ritual murder of Tapiwa Makore, has instilled fear among the young and elderly villagers alike who have since strongly warned their children against entertaining strangers, especially motorists.
In the same week, another human head was also found in the village and the identity is yet to be established.
The Herald struggled to get to the Makore homestead as most people, especially children, coming from school were reluctant to assist with directions.
Luckily a visibly drunk man came to the rescue and offered to lead The Herald team to the homestead.
On arrival at the homestead, most villagers were angry, emotional and debating as to the possible reasons of the murder. This was complete abomination to them. They were aghast at the manner in which the remains of the boy had been discovered after he had gone missing.
A torso believed to be his was found being dragged by a neighbour’s dog. The head and other parts of the body were missing. Arms and legs were later found following a spoor.
That was not all. The dogs had also dragged a human head, which, according to medical practitioners, belongs to a person who should be around 12 years old.
The boy’s uncle Tapiwa Makore (senior) and his employee Tafadzwa Shamba have been arrested in connection with the murder.
What surprised the community was the efforts the uncle had put in the search of the boy once he had been declared missing. He had been leading in the search and was a pillar of strength to his young brother constantly assuring him that they will find the boy alive.
He even had the temerity to chastise his young brother’s wife for being careless in Tapiwa’s disappearance. But alas! After playing a leading role in the search the elder brother to the boy’s father turned out to be one of the chief murder suspect.
Blood-stained clothes were found in one of his rooms.
Tapiwa Makore (senior), had earlier commendably assisted at the funeral. At one point, he reportedly got emotional, accusing the boy’s mother Ms Munyori of being irresponsible as mystery on the whereabouts of the boy deepened.
As fate would have it, his luck ran out. Some relatives assigned to clean his house stumbled upon a pair of trousers and a shirt stained with blood. They immediately tipped off detectives who were all over the village investigating the boy’s murder.
Circumstantial evidence pointed to him as the architect of the crime who had instructed Shamba to kill the boy.
In an interview, the boy’s mother broke down narrating how her brother-in-law had harassed her threatening to beat her up at the funeral for failing to account for the boy.
“He once threatened to beat me up, accusing me of being irresponsible and failing to account for my missing son. You can even ask my husband and other relatives who heard him threatening me, but to my surprise he is the one who was picked up by the police for murder,” she said sobbing.
Equally at a loss of words, was the boy’s father Mr Munyaradzi Makore. He said his brother had been a pillar of strength during the search and he remained optimistic that the boy would be found alive.
“It’s difficult to believe that my own brother who had been with me throughout the search and funeral, turned out to be a suspect in the murder case. We were together on Thursday night (September 24) searching for my son. He would strengthen me, with words of hope that the boy could be alive somewhere,” he said.
When asked what could have led to his brother allegedly killing his nephew, Tapiwa’s father was at a loss of words. He too was surprised because there was no bad blood between the two families as they enjoyed cordial relations as evidenced by naming the boy Tapiwa after his elder brother.
On burial arrangements, Mr Makore (junior) said DNA samples had been taken from the boy’s mother and they were initially told to wait between two and three weeks for the results.
“We have paid US$330 and we hope to pay the balance on collection of the results. The results will determine the burial date.
“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?” the boy’s father said shaking his head.
A villager Mr Summer Murwira was the first to discover the torso that was being dragged by his dog at his homestead last Friday morning.
“Early Friday morning, I was brushing my teeth outside the house when a female relative came telling me that Tapiwa was missing. Just after she left, I saw our black puppy dragging a torso, but we could not easily tell whose it was. However, I could tell that it was indeed a mutilated human body. I called other villagers and we resolved to send a message to the Makore family who were searching for their missing child.
“When the relatives came, the trail left by the puppy led us to the spot where the torso had been dropped. We then noticed blood spots and immediately reported the matter to the police,” said Mr Murwira.
But what kind of boy was Tapiwa and how did he relate to his peers in the area?
The Herald visited Nyamutumbu Primary School where he was a Grade One pupil. Staff at the school described him as a well-behaved, intelligent and highly promising pupil who had a bright future. They just could not understand how his life had been cut short and for what reason as he was an exemplary pupil
“Tapiwa was a promising young boy, dedicated to school work, well-behaved and respectful. It’s sad that he passed on at such a young age. His attendance at school was excellent considering that most children in these rural communities absent themselves for no good reason.
“He was very social and he would interact well others here at school,” said one of his teachers.
Sources at the school said the headmaster had since written to the district education offices seeking authority to end lessons early to allow pupils to walk home before sunset.
“We have some pupils who walk long distances for up to three hours to get home. I understand our headmaster has since written to the district office requesting to be allowed to end lessons at 3pm daily.
“This arrangement will ensure all children get home early for security reasons,” said a source.
The Herald also tracked down the alleged murderer’s relatives, the Shamba family.
In an interview at Chinyani Village in Murehwa, Mr Gaylord Shamba, younger brother to Tafadzwa’s late father, said the family was engaging the Makore family.
“We engaged the Makore family through our councillor and they welcomed us. They understood the fact that one deviant person cannot spoil the whole clan. We attended the funeral and provided loads of firewood and some maize meal. That is not enough, we intend to continue assisting until burial,” he said.
Mr Shamba said the family was ready to compensate the Makore family.