A 52-year-old Shamva polygamist has been caged 20 years for murdering one of his 12 wives after she left their homestead without informing him.
Joseph Chogugudza killed his wife, Emerina Gangira on April 12 2021 at Mandimu village under chief Musana.
He was a fugitive for two months before he was locked up following a citizen arrest.
His seven-year-old son who witnessed the events which led to his mother’s death told court the harrowing tale of how she was physically abused for two days before she was killed in front of her co-wives in broad daylight.
High Court judge Justice Priscilla Munangati -Manongwa expressed concern over the issue of domestic violence saying femicide cases before the courts currently confirm that “the fight against gender based violence is far from over.”
Gangira’s son, Elisha said on the fateful day, his mother went to buy sugar and returned in the afternoon.
When Chogugudza came home he started assaulting Gangira with an electric cable on her head.
He said they retired to bed with his mother groaning in pain.
Chogugudza shared the bed with Gangira that night.
The following morning he gathered his other wives and took them to the shrine where he coerced Gangira to confess that when she left home the previous day she met two different men she was having an affair with.
It was also proved that Gangira was visibly in pain and still groaning.
Chogugudza ordered her to stop groaning, threatening to assault her again.
They all returned from the shrine and Chogugudza assaulted Gangira again, in front of his other wives accusing her of faking pain.
Gangira then collapsed and died on the spot before Chogugudza vanished.
Villagers who were present tried resuscitating her to no avail.
The court was told no one could confront or stop Chogugudza because they all feared him.
He denied killing his wife, telling the court that he was acting in self-defence.
Chogugudza said his wife had breached his rules by leaving the homestead without informing him.
He also told the court that when he confronted her for returning home late, Gangira confessed to having been with two men earlier that day.
It was his testimony that she became violent and grabbed his privates before he hit her with a cable.
However, he gave conflicting evidence exposing that he was lying under oath.
The judge ruled Chogugudza deserved a long custodial sentence for not being remorseful and trying to justify his actions.
Ruled the judge, “It is this court’s finding that the accused realising that there was a real risk or possibly that his conduct may cause death, he continued to assault the deceased despite the risk or possibility that death could ensue. The accused is thus found guilty of murder.
“The court takes note that the accused is 52 years old, married to twelve wives, has 45 children 28 of which are below the age of 18 years. Definitely the accused has a huge family responsibility as the family relies on him for sustenance.
“It is not in dispute that the accused is a first offender. However, the crime of which the accused has been convicted of is a very serious one. A life was lost. The accused did not show any contrition as his attitude bordered on justifying his actions.”
She added: “He sought to picture the deceased as promiscuous and yet he admitted that he had no evidence to substantiate his allegations.
“In essence the deceased had done nothing wrong apart from going to the shops to buy sugar, a normal chore which any housewife could do.
“Whilst it is appreciated that as per African custom accused can atone his sins by paying the family of the deceased it is obvious that a life lost can never be compensated. The deceased’s family lost a daughter, Elisha lost a mother and witnessed the assault which led to his mother’s death.
“Given the aforegoing, the accused is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment”.