Burial after 3-week standoff

Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent

A GOKOMERE woman who was allegedly strangled to death by her husband three weeks ago has finally been buried after her family was paid four beasts and $1,000 as compensation. Sukai Chiutsi, 35, was buried at Gokomere Roman Catholic Cemetery on Wednesday, three weeks after her killing that was allegedly triggered by a misunderstanding she had with her husband, Paul Chiumba, over isitshwala and vegetables she had served him with.

Chiumba allegedly chocked his wife to death, a day after arriving home from work in Chisumbanje. Her family was demanding compensation before she could be buried.

A post-morterm report revealed that she died due to asphyxia and strangulation. However, Chiumba, who was arrested following the murder and is out of custody on bail, is denying killing his wife.

The woman was buried on Wednesday and the situation was tense at the ceremony that Chiumba boycotted.
After the burial, the late woman’s brother, Stephen Chiutsi, told Chronicle that his family had demanded 15 cattle from Chiumba’s family before burying her, but later compromised and were given four cattle as the body was deteriorating at Masvingo Hospital mortuary.

“We had to compromise given the decomposed state of the body at the mortuary and the police appealed to us to reach an agreement with Chiumba’s family. They have paid four beasts and $1,000 which is a far cry from our demands,” he said.

“We demanded 15 cattle and we hope they’re going to look for the remainder as we still hold them responsible for my sister’s death.
“We expected our brother-in-law to speak, to be apologetic, but it seems he’s not taking the matter seriously. We put everything to God who has the power to explain our fate but people should learn to treat other people like human beings not animals.”

Chiumba however, refuted the murder allegations and reiterated what he told the court through his lawyer, Charles Ndlovu: his wife had complained of headache the previous day and her family may have tampered with the body while it was in the mortuary following her death.

He told Chronicle: “I arrived home at night and found my wife asleep. She woke up and served me isitshwala with vegetables which I refused because I don’t like vegetables. I went to sleep. At around 4AM, I woke up as I wanted to prepare to leave for work at Green Fuel Company in Chisumbanje.

“I was taken aback to see my wife unconscious and I woke my sister, my mother and my young brother. I then sought transport and rushed her to the hospital where she died before being attended to.”

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