Man axes wife, vol­un­teer cop af­ter do­mes­tic dis­pute

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu

A MAN from Bulil­ima al­legedly bru­tally axed his wife and a neigh­bour­hood watch com­mit­tee mem­ber who was five months preg­nant to death be­fore hang­ing him­self fol­low­ing a do­mes­tic dis­pute.

His eight-year-old step­daugh­ter, who wit­nessed the grue­some in­ci­dent, fled for her life be­fore her step­fa­ther turned on her.

Vil­lagers said Pro­fes­sor Phuthi (28) first burnt prop­erty at his homestead in Vil­lage 26, Dom­bolefu Ward on Satur­day morn­ing be­fore way­lay­ing his wife, Ms Si­bongile Mh­langa (27), while she was on her way to Dom­bodema Po­lice Base in the com­pany of Ms El­iz­a­beth Maphosa as well as her daugh­ter.

The two women were go­ing to the po­lice sta­tion to re­port him for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Mata­bele­land South pro­vin­cial po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Phi­lani Nde­bele con­firmed the in­ci­dent.

“I can con­firm that there is an in­ci­dent of a man in Bulil­ima Dis­trict who axed two women to death. One of the women was his wife and the other a mem­ber of the neigh­bour­hood watch com­mit­tee,” he said.

The po­lice spokesper­son said the mur­der sus­pect later com­mit­ted sui­cide.

El­iz­a­beth’s father, Mr France Maphosa, who is also the head of Vil­lage 26 in Dom­bolefu Ward, said be­fore she was mur­dered, Ms Mh­langa had re­ported her hus­band to the po­lice as he was abus­ing her.

“Pro­fes­sor and his wife were con­stantly fighting and in their re­cent dis­pute he was ac­cus­ing her of hav­ing an af­fair. On Fri­day MaMh­langa even­tu­ally filed a re­port against him at Dom­bodema Po­lice Base and the po­lice gave her a let­ter sum­mon­ing her hus­band to the sta­tion.

“She took the let­ter to her hus­band while in the com­pany of my daugh­ter who is a neigh­bour­hood watch com­mit­tee mem­ber. Pro­fes­sor be­came vi­o­lent and his wife fled from their homestead and slept at my house,” he said.

Mr Maphosa said the fol­low­ing morn­ing, he as­signed his daugh­ter to ac­com­pany Ms Mh­langa to the po­lice sta­tion to re­port that her hus­band had turned vi­o­lent when he learnt that she had al­ready re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice.

He said af­ter walk­ing for about four kilo­me­tres, Pro­fes­sor in­ter­cepted them while armed with an axe and struck Ms Maphosa on her left ab­domen and head and then turned on his wife.

Mr Maphosa said Ms Mh­langa strug­gled with her hus­band and sus­tained cuts and bruises on her hands but he over­pow­ered her and struck her on the head as well. Both women died on the spot.

“This bru­tal killing was wit­nessed by MaMh­langa’s eight-year-old daugh­ter. She said her step­fa­ther first at­tacked El­iz­a­beth and then turned on his wife. The girl said she fled from the scene be­fore her step­fa­ther could at­tack her and sought refuge at a nearby homestead,” Mr Maphosa said.

Pro­fes­sor’s grand­fa­ther, Mr Rab­son Phuthi, said his grand­son’s body was found hang­ing from a tree about 10 kilo­me­tres from where he butchered the two women.

He said his grand­son had al­ways been vi­o­lent to­wards his wife even be­fore he al­legedly caught her red-handed with an­other man.

Mr Phuthi said fam­ily el­ders had tried to en­gage the cou­ple but their ef­forts were fruit­less. “Their union wasn’t even for­mal be­cause Pro­fes­sor just met MaMh­langa and took her into his house with­out meet­ing his fam­ily. Be­fore com­mit­ting this evil act, Pro­fes­sor first burnt some of his prop­erty and his wife’s clothes,” he said.

El­iz­a­beth’s mother, Mrs Sen­zeni Maphosa, said her daugh­ter’s death had left her heart­bro­ken.

“I didn’t know that when we sent El­iz­a­beth to the po­lice sta­tion we were send­ing her to her death. She was merely per­form­ing her du­ties as a neigh­bour­hood watch com­mit­tee mem­ber. She didn’t de­serve to die in such a ruth­less man­ner,” said Mrs Maphosa as she broke into tears.

Vil­lagers said prior to the grue­some mur­der, Pro­fes­sor re­cently beat up his wife and left her tied to a tree in a bush. She was al­legedly freed by passersby. The lat­est mur­ders and sui­cide come a week af­ter Mata­bele­land South po­lice launched a cam­paign against crimes of pas­sion.— @DubeMatutu

The late Si­bongile Mh­langa

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