A MAN from Hwange who brutally murdered his wife by stabbing her eight times with a knife after allegedly stumbling on a WhatsApp love message on her phone, has been sentenced to 25 years in jail. Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere, sitting on circuit in Hwange, convicted Tendai Nkomo, 31, of murder with constructive intent after giving him the benefit of the doubt since there was no one who could testify about what actually transpired between the couple on the fateful day.
He described Nkomo’s actions as callous and brutal as he had killed his wife in front of their three-year-old son — something that was going to traumatise the little boy for the rest of his life.
“Deceased died a painful death because of your vicious actions where you repeatedly stabbed and even went on to assault her with fists as she lay on the floor with the knife stuck in her back. It was a callous and brutal murder done in front of a little boy, something that will have a psychological effect on him for years to come,” said Justice Bere.
The judge heard how Nkomo stabbed his wife, Sithembile Lupahla, 23, with a 30cm kitchen knife in the presence of their son. In his defence, Nkomo said he acted in self-defence after his wife charged at him armed with a kitchen knife threatening to kill him and their child following an altercation over a love message sent to her by an unnamed boyfriend.
After I saw the love message, I asked deceased what was going on and she told me to mind my own business before she asked for her phone back. I refused to give her and she became aggressive and went into the kitchen where she took a knife before charging and stabbing me once on the thigh. Fearing for my life and that of my son who was next to me after she said she wanted to kill us both, I turned the knife on her and made her stab herself several times as we wrestled for its possession,” he said.
Nkomo blamed the pain of discovering his wife’s infidelity and alcohol as factors that drove him to stab her. The court heard that on September 10 last year at around 6PM, Nkomo went to Lwendulu Flea market in Hwange where his wife worked. He escorted her to her elder sister, Rachel Lupahla’s residence, also in Hwange, where she was now living.
Prosecutor Namatirai Ngwasha said on arrival, the two had a misunderstanding. Nkomo then stabbed Sithembile several times using a kitchen knife. She died on admission to Hwange Colliery Hospital, the court heard.
Testifying, Rachel told the court that a few hours before the incident, Nkomo had called her and asked her to bring him anointing oil from PHD Ministries founder, Prophet Walter Magaya, to end his marital problems.
“He wanted me to assist in resolving his marital problems. He asked me to bring him anointing oil from Prophet Magaya so his problems would end since I was in Harare. I told him I would and he hung up saying he would call me again as the network was bad.
“I was shocked to learn the next day through a message that he had stabbed my younger sister,” said Lupahla. Nkomo was represented by Tonderai Mukuku of Marondedze, Mukuku and Ndove Legal Practitioners.