A SOMBRE atmosphere engulfed Chipinge on Sunday after a 13-year-old drove off in a family vehicle without his parents’ consent, before hitting and killing his friend.

Both police and the late Moses Mubare’s mother, Mrs Abigale Muposhi, confirmed the incident which happened around 11am.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa said the teenager (named withheld to protect his identity) took the keys to his father’s Landcruiser without his permission.

The minimum age for Zimbabwean drivers is 16 years.

Mr Edmore Moyoweshumba, the teen’s father, was not at home when the accident occurred. After driving for a short distance, the vehicle’s engine is said to have cut-off. The teenager allegedly instructed his three friends to push-start it.

“The engine started running and two of the teenager’s friends managed to jump into the loading box. However, instead of driving forward, the teenager engaged the reverse gear and hit Moses as he was jumping into the loading box.  Queen Chisoro, a good Samaritan, rushed the boy who had sustained serious head injuries to Chipinge District Hospital. Sadly, he died upon admission,” said Inspector Kakohwa. In an interview with The Manica Post on Tuesday, Mrs Muposhi said it was sad to lose her first born son in such a manner.

“My son and the teenager who was driving the vehicle were friends. ln fact we are neighbours with the boy’s family,” she began as she struggled to control her emotions.

Mrs Muposhi went on to reveal that the teen had always been in the habit of driving from a tender age.

“This was not the first time for the teen to drive his father’s cars. We had been trying to stop Moses from boarding the vehicle when his under-aged friend was behind the steering wheel but it fell on deaf ears, probably because they were age mates who had grown close. On the fateful day at around 11am, Moses went to play with his friend and two others. All hell broke loose when the boys decided to drive into town,” said Mrs Muposhi.

“Although those who were on the scene tried to rush Moses to the hospital, we believe that he died on the spot,” she said with tears running down her cheeks.

“Although the Moyoweshumba family is meeting all the funeral costs, Moses’ death has left a deep void in my heart, which will be difficult to fill,” she said.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Moyoweshumba, popularly known as Doda in Chipinge, were fruitless as the person who was answering his mobile phone said he was busy with Moses’ burial arrangements.

Inspector Kakohwa said the teenager has since been released into the custody of his parents due to his age. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23, Section 7 (a) and (b) reads: “A child who is of over the age of seven years, but below the age of 14 years at the time of the conduct constituting any crime which he or she is alleged to have committed shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt — (a) to lack the capacity to form the intention necessary to commit the crime; or (b) where negligence is an element of the crime concerned, to lack the capacity to behave in the way that a reasonable adult would have behaved in the circumstances.”

state media