TWO Chitungwiza families caused a scene at the High Court yesterday when they haggled over the appropriate sentence to be meted against a 19-year-old family member who fatally stabbed her mother and set her body ablaze after she was quizzed over missing money.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The families were divided over whether the suspect, Patience Ngoshi, should be jailed if convicted of murder or be taken for rehabilitation.
Patience is alleged to have stabbed her mother, Felistas Mabhiza, 13 times all over the body using a kitchen knife sometime in September 2013, before torching her corpse.
Patience, who was 17 years old then, is alleged to have been angered by her mother after she questioned her over missing $100.
As the court was about to sit in the morning, prosecutor Washington Munyoro took time to explain the law to the divided family members.
The Ngoshi family, Patience’s paternal relatives, was advocating for the teenager to be taken for rehabilitation while her late mother’s side, the Mabhiza family, wanted her to be jailed for murder.
The impasse between the two families was brought about by a psychiatric report which suggested that when Patience allegedly committed the offence, her mind was unstable, an assertion dismissed by the Mabhiza family as questionable.
“We want the State to challenge that medical report,” said a Mabhiza family member while addressing the prosecutor.
“Patience was in full control of her mind when she killed her mother, it cannot be said she was mad. How can a mad person know how well to conceal evidence after committing an offence?
“She knew very well what she was doing and we want the court to properly deal with her. We cannot have a situation where she is released to the family again. She might strike again, she is just a murderer and should be punished.”
As the situation got tense, a member from the Ngoshi family said they were equally shocked by the incident, but said they were prepared to accept Patience in their family and take her through the rehabilitation process if they were given a chance to do so.
Allegations against Patience were that on the day in question she had a misunderstanding during the night with her mother who had asked her if she had picked a $100 note in the house.
After denying picking up the money, it is alleged, her mother beat her up and ordered her to do some laundry, which she failed to finish, prompting her mother to beat her up again.
The court heard that the girl picked up a kitchen knife and stabbed her mother several times in the chest, neck and hands, killing her instantly.
After killing her, she allegedly proceeded to her bedroom and slept.
The following day, she allegedly lied to her younger brother that their mother had left her phone in town and he was supposed to collect it.
As soon as he left, she allegedly called her friend and informed her about the incident and in order to cover up the offence, she took paraffin and sprinkled it on a piece of cloth, covered her mother’s corpse and set it on fire. Later, she allegedly turned on the gas stove and further sprinkled paraffin on the bed and set the house ablaze.