Home » Judicial » Chitungwiza Blast Inquest Opens

An inquest into the death of six people following a blast in Chitungwiza that destroyed 12 houses last year opened at the Harare magistrates’ court yesterday with details emerging that the traditional healer Speakmore Mandere clinched a deal to sell mercury moments before the blast. The traditional healer, popularly known as Sekuru Shumba Mandere (24), intended to sell mercury to one of the deceased Alex Shamhu.

Tembo Magaya (67), Kelly Chimina, Clever Kamunzeya and Chabaiwa Chitanha also died during the blast which occurred on January 1, 2013 under unclear circumstances.

An inquest is an inquiry to establish where and how a person died.

No verdict is given to anyone at the end of the inquiry and those interested in the matter are allowed to ask questions to witnesses.

The court will then determine how, where and under what circumstances the person died.

Prosecutor Ms Francesca Mukumbiri called Kamunzeya’s widow Svodai as the first State witness, who reminisced events of the day tragedy struck.

Svodai told the court that she knew Mandere through her niece Virginia Rashirai.

She also told the court that she knew the deceased Shamhu as her husband’s friend, who at one time had indicated that he dealt in ivory, gold and mercury.

“We had family problems with my husband involving commuter omnibuses business that was not generating money,” said Svodai.

“Rashirai took me to the traditional healer who promised to solve my problems.”

Svodai said she was left at the traditional healer’s home while her husband went to look for herbs and she called Rashirai to keep her company.

The court heard that Svodai waited in the dining room and the traditional healer joined her and started a conversation.

“He asked me if I knew anyone interested in buying mercury and I referred him to Shamhu who he then directed to his house. My husband later returned and Rashirai also arrived,” she said.

Svodai said they started dancing to Mbira Dzenharira music on radio before hearing a thunderous sound.

“I fainted when I woke up I realised that the walls of the house were destroyed,” she said.

“I started calling Rashirai and I saw her walking injured. I then started looking for my husband and saw pieces of strewn human flesh.”

Source : The Herald