|When ‘the law’ equals injustice|
|Friday, 21 September 2012 00:00|
Marcia Gore Features Writer
hallucinations, one cannot help but wonder why most murderers or their lawyers usually play the mental problem card and get away with it.
As a people, we have accepted mental instability as justification against moral blameworthiness because judges and magistrates the world over, seem to be concentrating on giving stiffer penalties to cattle rustlers and carjackers than murderers and rapists.
Breivik killed eight people in a van bomb, before going on a shooting frenzy which killed 69 people mostly teenagers at an island summer camp near Oslo, was sentenced to 21 years with a minimum of 10 years.
What pains more in most of these cases is that cattle rustling and livestock theft is just like the theft of any other goods and should be treated as such unlike rape, murder or child abuse which is a direct attack on human life.
Even livestock is insured and can be replaced unlike murdering a breadwinner who can never be replaced, or the rape of a child whose self-esteem is affected for the rest of his or her life and in some cases infected with the HIV virus.
People buy cattle for the purposes of meat or wealth, nobody will ever claim that they keep cattle in their pen forever. They are kept for disposal and some point so why give these priority instead of human life, or virginity that can never be replaced.
Therefore cars can never be more important than a child, or a breadwinner whose family’s lives will never be the same.
In June 2011, Fabion Nyamayedenga of Murehwa was sentenced to 99 years in jail for 21 counts of cattle rustling.
A 53-year-old Chivi man whose identity was withheld to protect his victim was sentenced to four months in jail for shoving a burning log into his four-year-old niece’s privates after accusing her of eating stew that had been reserved for him.
Her jewels can never be the same again and she might suffer future complications due to this incident but the offender got four months in prison and probably when released, he might commit a similar offence in the future.
In November 2001, John Phiri of Gweru, who was convicted of stealing and slaughtering his employer’s calf before exchanging the meat with a mountain bike was sentenced to nine years in jail.
Whatever circumstances one may present in court, any crime that affect lives directly should be taken seriously so that such incidents will not recur in future. Some journalists even write that so and so was slapped with two months in jail for rape. Those of us who have had the “privilege” of being slapped at some point in their lives will tell you that it is painful and they would give anything not to be slapped again.
Makuvaza of Chivhu were both sentenced to 27 years in jail for stealing three beasts.
Irene Chikuya of Mount Darwin was in February 2010 sentenced to five years in prison for fatally axing her sister Violet after she accused her snatching her husband.
Two brothers — Wilson and Abel Chako of Ngezi — were in 2006 found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years each for killing their 17-year-old relative.
Jeffrey Karasa of Chegutu, who was convicted of stealing six cattle from his employer, was sentenced to 50 years in jail, 25 of which were suspended leaving him with a quarter of a century behind bars.
Worldwide, activists have in recent times campaigned against the Islamic Sharia law, a civil law based on the Qur’an, which stipulates that among other punishments, if you steal your hands should be chopped off, or if you murder someone you will be killed also.
And to a certain extent, it is fair because it ensures that the offender does not repeat the offence. Can such punishments be implemented in rape cases?