Home » ‘Mjolo’ whistleblowers must be jailed-says Chinhoyi residents as crimes of passion escalate

‘Mjolo’ whistleblowers must be jailed-says Chinhoyi residents as crimes of passion escalate


by Tendai Mutasa


‘Mjolo’ whistleblowers must be jailed — say Chinhoyi residents as passion crimes escalate

30th November 2023

By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

STAKEHOLDERS in Chinhoyi have raised concern over the spike in cases of passion killings, attempted murder, assault and domestic violence amid calls to punish those who expose infidelity among couples.

A crime of passion refers to a violent crime, especially homicide, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone due to a sudden strong impulse such as anger or jealousy rather than as a premeditated crime.

Commonly known as mjolo in street lingo, intimate relationships have at times ended tragically after ‘whistleblowers’ would have sold off a cheating partner.

Chinhoyi residents are advocating for the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of “those deliberately aiding and abetting crime knowing fully well the likelihood someone could be killed if the extramarital affair is known.”

During a recent public engagement organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Mashonaland West Chapter under the theme, “Crimes of passion on the rise; the way forward to curtail a pandemic”, participants were unequivocal that gossipers must be held to account for their actions should “classified” information they leak lead to couples killing each other or perpetrating domestic violence.

“The law should be revisited with a view to punish gossipers who expose infidelity, especially about married people because this has wrecked marriages and given rise to passion crimes.

“The recent case which happened here in Chinhoyi is an example of what can potentially occur when people poke their noses in other people’s private affairs. We gather that someone snitched on the now deceased to her husband that she was having a boyfriend,” said Chinhoyi Ward 4 resident, Aaron Marufu.

Another participant, Judith Chihota weighed in saying, “Yes, a mjolo whistleblower is an accessory to the crime and must face the music just like the killer. People must mind their own business. Cheaters have compelling reasons why they cheat on their partners.”

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) legal officer, Rutendo Mudarikwa cautioned that current legislation does not provide for the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of gossipers, who are, in fact, accessories to the commission of crime.

Mudarikwa told participants an accessory is someone who assists the perpetrator of a crime without taking part in it, and gossipers could fit that description.

A Chinhoyi man, Bwanali Bwanado (51), is currently in prison on routine remand for allegedly killing his wife Chioneso Ephraim aged 41 on suspicion of adultery.

Court heard that on November 7, 2023, at around 2120 hours, accused proceeded to Gadzema where the married couple rented rooms.

The accused person had information his wife was having an extramarital affair with another man and that she was not home at that particular time.

He then ambushed the ‘cheaters’ and saw the pair entering the house before proceeding to the bedroom.

An accused person found the lovebirds sitting on the matrimonial bed before he armed himself with an okapi knife and confronted the two. A scuffle ensued between the two men, but luckily the boyfriend managed to escape.

In a fit of rage, the accused person turned his anger on Ephraim whom he stabbed several times all over her body using the weapon, leading to her death.

In another recent incident, a Gadzema woman was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, who had just been released from prison on Presidential Amnesty while several crimes of passion are frequently reported at local police stations.

During the ZUJ interface, a gender-based violence (GBV) survivor, Unity Feremenga (40), gave a harrowing narration of her life experience at the hands of an abusive husband against whom she finally sought a protection order.

“I suffered emotional, physical and psychological trauma. My ex-husband denied me sex for three years, started having numerous girlfriends and became violently abusive.

“At first, as an African woman raised to be subservient to my husband, l would let him beat me up without retaliating. I later became hardened and began to hit back, and our household became a warzone. This hurt our three kids,” said Feremenga.

“The final straw was when he wanted to sell the house that we built together. The verbal and physical violence escalated and realised one of us could die as a result. I then sought a protection order at the courts so he could stop the violence against me. Thereafter, we started living separate lives under one roof.”

Feremenga told participants at the engagement that the toxic marriage she endured triggered hypertension and she now takes three types of medication to manage the condition.

Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) legal officer, Seppy Ndlovu encouraged men and women to exit abusive relationships and to apply for protection orders immediately when red flags start showing.

She said most married people, particularly women, were suffering in silence, and urged them to report different forms of abuse to police.

“It starts as a slap on the face before he kicks you. When these red flags start showing, you have to seek a protection order before you become a statistic of passion crimes. No relationship is worth dying for.”

ZUJ Secretary General, Perfect Hlongwane, called on journalists to expose GBV in all its forms to influence legislators to enact laws aimed at eliminating the societal vice.

The Indaba was part of a public awareness project by ZUJ ahead of commemorations to mark 16 Days of Activism Against GBV.

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