Beer, mental illness major cause of murders in Midlands


Gweru (New Ziana) – The public has been urged to exercise self-control especially after the consumption of alcohol, and take care of mentally ill relatives, two factors accounting for the majority of murder cases in the Midlands Province.

Speaking during the opening of the 2022 legal year for the Gweru High Court Circuit, Justice Evangelista Kabasa expressed concern over how people fail to exercise self-control and resort to violence leading to loss of lives.

The 2022 legal year first term circuit will run from January 24 to February 4 with a total of 12 cases that have been set down for trial.

“The circumstances of these murder cases mostly speak to the lack of self-control in the face of conflict and the impairment of sound judgment due to beer consumption.

“If beer drinking ceases to be a merry-making past-time but instead creates fertile ground for conflict and escalation of violence, it is probably time that society weighs the pros and cons of public gatherings where beer is imbibed with reckless abandon,” she said.

Justice Kabasa said murders by mentally challenged family members can be curbed if they are taken care of and properly managed.

“There is a tendency to stigmatise those with mental challenges which invariably leads to their neglect leading to these violent crimes which could be mitigated if society learns to accept that mental illness is an illness like any other and those affected must be afforded proper care and management in order to protect not only those affected but family members who are invariably victims in these murder cases.”

She said society must learn to respect the sanctity of life and refrain from violent tendencies.

“Violence never solves anything whereas dialogue is a panacea which should be embraced by all peace-loving people and each one of us ought to value peace and peaceful resolution of conflicts of whatever nature,” she said.

Due to challenges caused by Covid-19, the judiciary last year did two Gweru circuits which saw the completion of 21 cases out of a total of 28 cases.

The cases, Justice Kabasa said, were characterised by unfortunate loss of life at the hands of mentally challenged individuals, the ugly occurrences of violence leading to loss of life and the impediment to commencement of trial occasioned by the non-availability of accused persons.

She said the Judiciary should dispense justice as expeditiously as possible as well as exercise duties with integrity, without fear or favour and to acquit themselves in a manner that engenders confidence in members of the public.

Challenges of Covid-19, she said resulted in the completion of 21 cases out of a total of 28.
New Ziana

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