Home » Judicial » Chitungwiza Blast N’anga Was Red Mercury Merchant, Inquest Told

An inquest into the death of six people following a blast in Chitungwiza that also damaged 12 houses last year, ended yesterday with evidence from a witness suggesting the traditional healer and his clients were extracting red mercury from a landmine. This comes amid claims by another witness, Svodai Kamunzeya, that the traditional healer, Speakmore Mandere, had clinched a deal to sell mercury moments before the blast.

However, the witness suggested that a man who last arrived at the house – the late Chabaiwa Chitanha – might have delivered the mercury.

Testifying in court, the traditional healer’s associate, Abel Chaparika, said Mandere called him on the fateful day inquiring prices of red mercury.

“Mandere used to lead an apostolic sect and when I started attending his church, I was chosen as a leader. We became close and he would confide in me.

“On the day he called me inquiring how much red mercury cost because someone was delivering it at his house that day.

“The phone went off before I answered him and I called him using a landline to warn him to be extremely careful because red mercury is dangerous,” he said.

Prosecutor Ms Francesca Mukumbira inquired how Chaparika knew that red mercury was dangerous.

“In 2002 my relative died in Rushinga while trying to extract red mercury from a landmine and the place exploded,” he replied.

Chitanha’s relative, Emmanuel Marombe, told the court that on the day Chitanha excused himself at Harare Hospital where they had visited an ailing relative.

“He excused himself and said he would return shortly but could not say where he was going.

“The sick relative passed on and we proceeded with burial arrangements, not paying much attention to Chitanha’s absence.

“His phone was not reachable and we started looking for him at police stations suspecting that he was arrested,” he said.

Ms Mukumbira quizzed Marombe why he started looking at police stations if Chitanha was a straight forward man.

In his response, Marombe said it was a noble thing to do at that time.

“We then heard on the radio that among the Chitungwiza victims one remained unidentified. We went to Chitungwiza mortuary and discovered that it was him,” he said.

Chitanha’s wife, Tarisai Mutumha, said she only knew her husband as a family man, working as a barman at Meikles Hotel.

“I was not aware that he was involved in any deals,” she said.

Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe is set to make a determination today which he is expected to send to the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

State closed the inquest into the death of Mandere (24) Alex Shamhu, Tembo Magaya (67), Kelly Chimina, Clever Kamunzeya and Chitanha, who died during the blast, which occurred on January 20, 2013. under unclear circumstances after calling six witnesses.

Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe is set to make a determination today which he is expected to send to the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

Source : The Herald