RITUAL killers – Tafadzwa Shamba and Tapiwa Makore Snr – have been convicted by the High Court for the 2020 murder of Tapiwa Makore Jnr in a landmark case whose judgment was broadcast live on television.

This comes after the State proved beyond reasonable doubt that Shamba and Makore drugged, killed and mutilated the then seven-year-old boy for ritual purposes to boost the latter’s cabbage business in Murehwa.

The two were found guilty after a lengthy judgment handed down by Justice Munamato Mutevedzi, who ruled that the murder was premeditated.

Shamba was convicted of masterminding the murder while Makore is guilty for being an accomplice to the killing.

Their lawyers have been ordered to file mitigation on their behalf by close of day on July 6th to which the State will also respond before the court commits a sentence to the two.

Justice Mutevedzi is expected to sentence the duo on July 12.

“Tafadzwa Shamba is guilty beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law.

“In the circumstances it is ordered that Shamba be and is hereby found guilty of the murder of Tapiwa Makore as charged.

“Tapiwa Makore Snr is also found guilty for the murder of the deceased as an accomplice,” ruled Justice Mutevedzi.

Jusstice Mutevedzi said Shamba’s recorded statements qualified as a confession after they corroborated with his voluntary indications.

During the trial, Makore argued that Shamba’s confession was not supposed to be admitted as evidence against him claiming he was merely a spectator.

The State proved that Makore acted as an accomplice by providing a safe house where the boy was kept on the fateful day.

It was also not disputed that the boy was murdered for ritual purposes, that Makore Snr told a witness to bury one of the body parts before people saw it and that blood-stained clothes and the illicit beer used on the day were found at Shamba and Makore’s houses.

Tapiwa Makore Jnr went missing on September 17, 2020 around 3pm, the State proved that the boy was drugged using an illicit brew and was kept in a safe house until midnight.

He was killed later that night.

His dismembered body parts were found the following morning while his torso was found being mauled by dogs a kilometre away from his parents’ homestead.

Other body parts were recovered from a disused pit latrine after Shamba led police during indications.

Shamba and Makore were supposed to earn US$1 500 from the ritual killing.

Tapiwa’s torso was buried in 2021 and his head is still missing.

The boy’s mother, Linda Munyori, says the memories of the horror still haunt her and is relieved that the court has found out that the boy’s uncle had a hand in his demise.

“I am now relieved after the court found them guilty for killing my only son, it’s been the worst three years of my life and to think that Tapiwa Makore was denying everything still hurts.

“I pray that they get the punishment they deserve,” said Munyori.