MVUMA town last week woke up to the sad passing of Regina Khumbula who was murdered by her husband Rameck Batirai whose intention was to get USD5000 for giving his accomplices her body parts, in particular the tongue and breasts.
Gruesome, the murder was.
Regina’s body was discovered as an informer, Christopher Mayingahama investigated why a child was desperately crying in the bush at night. To his surprise, he saw Regina’s body lying in a blood bath.
Police investigations ensued leading to police arresting Batirai and two others, Tongai Hotera and Innocent Munemo, he had implicated while being questioned.
The community is still in shock and many have highlighted that the late Regina had been a victim of gender-based violence though she remained loyal to her abusive husband.
“She would get beaten always but she remained submissive to her husband. We never knew it would come to this. The husband had supposedly married a second wife amid the poverty and strife he exposed her wife too,” said a community member during this publication’s visit to Mvuma.
Her loyalty could not be questioned as she was murdered while taking her husband halfway on his way to work.
“The situation is even sad for her one year and four months old baby who is his father’s namesake. Knowing what happened, would he want to keep that name,” rhetorically asked another community member.
The community however reached out to baby Rameck while in hospital with Mvuma Residents Association (MRA) Director, Sitshengisiwe Kalenge taking lead in encouraging women to donate for the child.
“A sad situation has befallen us as residents. I will urge all mothers who know how it feels to bear a child to come forward and assist this child,” said Kalenge through audio sent to a resident’s group for which it gathered results as women flocked to Mvuma District Hospital with a consortium of goods.
Residents in the WhatApp group also appealed with the council to clear bushes noting that long grass has often led to high crime in a community where small distance commuting is rare and unaffordable to many.
An emotional moment indeed as women activists led by Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) led a peaceful protest dubbed, #JusticeForRegina at the Mvuma Magistrates Court where the accused persons went for hearing.
In song, they urged men to amend their disputes with their female counterparts than violence.
”This is terrifying and inhumane. Murder for ritual purposes is on the rise and the current economic status is worsening the situation but, in this case, we wish justice to prevail,” said Joice Togarepi of WCOZ GBV cluster representative.
Regina’s case is however not the first case where a woman has been murdered for supposed ritual purposes in Mvuma as in a similar incidence, a female milk vendor was raped and murdered for ritual purposes in 2015 according to a report by Msasa Project.
The organization however believes that GBV cases continue to rise as a result of economic hardships.
“Musasa is deeply saddened with the heightened fatal cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Midlands Province. We urge all citizens to protect, value, and respect the life of their partners. Intimate partner violence continues to escalate due to economic hardships, ” Msasa Project Advocacy and Communication Officer, Rotina Mafume Musara
The two other accused are however denying implication in the murder and CommuTalk is reliably informed the court is yet to hear their defense council’s argument.
Regina is set to be laid to rest on Sunday at her husband’s rural home in Zaka.