Murdered teacher’s family speaks

Michael Magoronga, [email protected] 

THE Zhombe community in Kwekwe district, Midlands province is living in fear following the gruesome murder of Fanuel Mwale (57), a Rio Tinto High School teacher last week. 

Mwale, was found brutally murdered in what appears to be a ritual killing. The heinous act, unprecedented in Zhombe, has the community demanding justice and answers. 

Mwale’s defaced and naked body was discovered at the Joel Business Centre. His face had been skinned, his eyes and ears removed, a sight that sent shivers down the spines of those who saw his body. 

These disturbing details have led the community to suspect that this was no ordinary crime, but a ritualistic murder.

Police have since launched a manhunt for the suspected killers and are also appealing for information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects.

For the first time, the family of the deceased has opened up, saying Mwale will be buried on Friday.

“At the moment, we are waiting for the body to return from a postmortem in Bulawayo on Wednesday (today) before burial on Friday. This is what has befell us as a family and there is nothing we can do about it,” said Mr Shayne Shoko, the family spokesperson.

“We are not doing any rituals, we are burying our dear brother and all we wish for is for our loved one to rest in peace. Everything else, we leave in God’s hands.”

The unnerving details of this murder have not only created a wave of fear, but also exposed the community to the grim reality of ritualistic killings. 

As Zhombe contends with this shocking incident, the hope is that justice will prevail, and the perpetrators brought to book.

Zhombe Residents Association chairperson, Mr Becare Ndebele said it was their first time to witness such a callous murder.

“This murder is the first of its kind and it has left everyone shocked and shaken. Just towards the end of last year, we recorded three murders, but this magnitude of barbarism is frightening,” he said.

Mr Ndebele said the community is making contributions which will be channelled towards the burial of the deceased.

“Mwale played a critical role in imparting knowledge to most members of this community and he was an integral part of this community. As a community we are contributing funds towards his burial as a way of showing solidarity with the loved ones,” he said. 

Mr Ndebele said they are also organising a peaceful anti-crime march. “We are in the process of applying to the police for us to hold a peaceful solidarity march from Joel Business Centre to Zhombe Mission where Mwale will be buried. The march is aimed at raising awareness against crime,” he said.

Chief Gwesela said they are considering conducting a cleansing ceremony.

“I am in the process of bringing together churches so that we can organise a vigil and pray for the area and cleanse it from such evil acts. We will also convene traditionalists for the same purpose so that we cleanse the area,” he said.

The deceased was a popular teacher within the area. He taught History and English at Rujeko Somalala High School before transferring to Rio Tinto High School.

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