CHIREDZI – There is a worrying increase in the number of people murdered by mentally challenged persons, a senior Chiredzi Magistrate has observed.
Chiredzi Regional Magistrate Judith Zuyu said taking mentally ill people to see traditional healers is one of the major causes of the increase in murders because the patients then stop taking their medications from hospitals.
She said such murders have not only increased in Masvingo but country-wide.
Zuyu made the remarks when she acquitted Forgive Nongwa, a mentally challenged man from Bomba area in Triangle who attacked and nearly killed the husband of a traditional healer from whom he was receiving treatment.
"It's high time people or relatives of the mentally challenged people take the beloved one to hospitals for treatment and not traditional healers.
"Police should do public awareness campaigns otherwise the murders we see will continue to increase," said Zuyu.
Nongwa pleaded guilty to the attempted murder charge but in mitigation said this was due to his illness. The complainant was Cephas Senga from Samba Ranch in Chiredzi.
"I was in a confused state of mind, I am on treatment," said Nongwa.
Acquitting Nongwa, magistrate Zuyu said the medical report that was done by a doctor at Chikurubhi Maximum Prison where Nongwa was sent for medication has indicated that he was mentally challenged person.
She then ruled out that Nongwa be freed because the doctor said when she committed the crime she was insane.
Allegations are that some months ago, relatives of Nongwa visited a traditional healer to consult him about an evil spirit that they suspect was haunting Forgive Nongwa.
They then visited Senga's homestead to consult his wife a traditional healer popularly known as mbuya Senga.
It is alleged that before they even started the process, the evil spirit believed to be tormenting Nongwa manifested resulting in Nhongwa taking a burning log from the fire place outside the hut and assaulting Senga on the left hand and on the head.
Due to the assault Senga was left with a broken left arm and a deep cut in the head. Villagers came to the family's rescue and leading to the arrest of Nongwa.
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