CHECHECHE – National elections are around the corner and the temptation to resort to violence is always alive.
Chipinge Rural District Council vice-chairman Misheck Busangavanye who is also Ward 26 councillor, his sons Jairos and Brighton were arrested in 2004 and appeared in court facing murder charges.
The case involved the alleged murder of Philemon Nyamunda and there are different reasons given for the killing.
At one point it was said that Nyamunda was murdered because he belonged to the MDC T Party but the deceased's mother said he was murdered because the councilor had suspected that he had stolen his window frame.
The others accused of participating in the same alleged murder are Erisha Tomu, Sugar Gondoma, Richard Matikwa, James Mapamha and Tackson Tenda.
Nyamunda who was allegedly killed at the councillor's shop at Matikwa Business Center some 20km away from Checheche Growth Point was murdered alongside a guard only identified as David who was accused of being an accomplice in the theft of the window frame.
Councillor Busangavanye said it was not a political matter as others allege but he hanged his phone when pressed and never answered it up again when asked for a comment.
The matter was heard at Mutare Magistrate Court and Mutare High Court.Courts and Enia Sithole the deceased's mother said she at some stage saw no hope in the fair hearing of the case and she stopped going to court and vowed never to go again.
The alleged murder happened in 2004 and it is now 13 years and yet there is no court verdict.
Events took a surprise turn when Busangavanye who pleaded not guilty to the murder in court allegedly presented himself to the Nyamunda family and offered to pay compensation to appease the avenging spirit of the deceased.
On January 3, 2017 Busangavanye allegedly came to the Nyamunda homestead in the Matikwa area and before a bumper crowd of over 200 villagers paid 12 beasts to the family of the deceased. Six of the cattle were alive and the other six were paid in cash at the price of $700 per beast
Sithole said Busangavanye also brought a goat that was used to demonstrate how the deceased was killed.
She said that Busangavanye tied the goat to a pole and together with his sons started beating the animal with all sorts of weapons and sometimes pulled the goat's scrotum until it died.
"There was drama at the ceremony when the father pulled the goat's testicles while his sons were hitting it with logs until it died. After its death they prepared the meat and cooked sadza for everyone who was at the ceremony," said one of the deceased's brothers.
All this is said to have happened before a huge crowd of villagers that gathered at the deceased's home for the ceremony conducted by Busangavanye to appease the deceased's spirit. The councilor is also said to have brought drums of beer for the same function.
In addition to the 12 beasts Busangavanye is said to have also paid four beasts just to allow him to get into the deceased's homestead. He is also said to have paid another seven beasts earlier when the deceased's family threatened to bury Nyamunda's body at his home. This brings the total number of beasts that he paid to 23.
Isiah Nyamunda who is the deceased's brother, alleged that Busangavanye was forced to present himself to the Nyamunda family because the deceased's spirit was tormenting him.
There are allegations that Busangavanye no longer stays at his rural home but has relocated to Checheche Growth Point because he sees the deceased in his bedroom.
He is also alleged to have dumped his car on several occasions after seeing the deceased sitting next to him. One of his wives is alleged to have found her baby thrown in a bucket of water one night, said sources.
"He is no longer staying at his rural home because he sometimes see the deceased in his bedroom at night.
"He is alleged to have abandoned his vehicle several times after seeing the deceased sitting next to him," said Isiah.
A Mirror crew recently visited the Nyamunda homestead for interviews but the deceased's mother, Sithole immediately broke into uncontrollable sobs on hearing the purpose of the visit. She said that she was present at the scene when her son was murdered. Sithole said she tried to rescue her son but was beaten on the chest by one of the accused. She allegedly even offered to pay the Busangavanyes with a bale of cotton so that she could replace the stolen window frame but the offer was rejected.
Isaiah Nyamunda, the deceased`s brother narrated the events on the fateful day in deep Ndau dialect and said that the alleged murder was the most cruel known in the Matikwa area. He alleged that his brother was killed like an animal. Isaiah alleged that Busangavanye, his two sons and several other accused who include Tomu, Gondoma, Matikwa, Mapamha and Tenda handcuffed Nyamunda to a pole at his shop.
The allegations against the two were that they had stolen a widow frame and the group allegedly assaulted the two throughout the night and would pull their private parts. Isaiah told The Mirror that David died while still cuffed to a pole and Nyamunda died at Chisumbanje Police Station where the accused had gone to seek a Police report so they could rush Nyamunda to hospital.
"A window frame was stolen at Busangavanye`s place and my brother and the guard became the suspects. However, we later heard it was one of Busangavanye's sons who had actually stolen the frame. My mother offered to give them a bale of cotton so they could stop assaulting my brother but one of the councillor's sons who was leading the torture refused and told her that he had been ordered to kill my brother. The accused were provided with beer as they assaulted my brother throughout the night.
"The matter just died out at the courts and we suspect that a powerful politician intervened. Seven people were arrested but released after only 3 days. We threatened to bury the body at Busangavanye`s homestead and he paid seven beasts. After my brother's burial they started claiming that they had killed him because he was an MDC T member but this is not true as Philemon was a well known Zanu PF youth.
"The Councillor then started ignoring our pleas for him to settle this matter and this had gone on for the last 13 years until my brother`s spirit started to revenge. Busangavanye then approached us last year and told us that he no longer had peace and he wanted to appease the late's spirit," said Isaiah.
He said all that the family charged Busangavanye to pay in order to appease the spirit came from the deceased who spoke through a traditional healer. He said the crime involved 15 other suspects and these were also obliged to pay for the part they played in the murder otherwise the avenging spirit was going to fight them.
"It was the most ruthless murder. I literally begged Busangavanye to release my son several times during that night but he laughed at me and even assaulted me on my chest. We went to court in Mutare but I saw no good prospects there and as a family we left it at that. We saw Busangavanye resurfacing last year saying that he wanted to pay us.
"The offer touched me because the deceased is survived by two children who are no longer going to school because no one can afford their fees. One boy is 17 years now and the other is 13," said Sithole.
Busangavanye confirmed the incident but threatened to take action over people who are spreading the story.
He said he cannot talk about the issue over the phone and promised to call back since he was attending a meeting in Mutare. local news