Former lands perm sec charged for ritual murder

HARARE – Frederick Chunga, former permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands has denied allegations of murdering a man and severing his private parts for a business ritual.

Chunga, a farmer and businessman, is jointly charged with Patricia Tembo, a suspected traditional healer who allegedly administered the ritual.

Prosecutor Beaven Murevanhema alleges that Chunga ran over George Nyachumbu, while driving along a dusty road linking Burnhills and his Mvurachena Farm in Raffingora eight years ago.

Chunga, who is represented by Harrison Nkomo, yesterday denied the allegations and told the court that the State had failed to establish the actual dates they claim the incident took place.

He said there were no witnesses to the said incident and his role in the whole issue was not specified.

Chunga further said he did not knock down Nyachumbu and only came to know about the allegations when he was arrested in 2006.

Likewise, Tembo denied the allegations. She denied practicing witchcraft or any traditional healing practices.

Through her lawyer Belinda Rupapa, Tembo said there was no evidence linking her to the commission of the offence.

Allegations against the duo arose between April and August 2005, according to Murevanhema, when Chunga allegedly ran over Nyachumbu.

The State alleges that Chunga assigned one Douglas Nyirongo, who sought assistance from some of the workers at the farm to dispose of the body.

According to State papers, the workers placed Nyachumbu’s body in a fertiliser sack before burying it in a pit in his field.

It is alleged that before burying the body, the workers cut off Nyachumbu’s private parts and placed them in a plastic bag.

They allegedly covered the body with maize stalks before refilling the pit.

The severed private parts were allegedly taken to Tembo, who was to prepare a business-enhancing ritual.

Tembo allegedly gave all those who participated in the disposal of the body some “medicine” to ward off vengeful spirits and for general protection.

According to State papers, the workers were promised huge sums of money, which was however, not paid.

The offence came to light after the disgruntled workers dropped a letter at a police station.

One of the former workers Maplan Kondori who testified yesterday told the court that he was the one who drove the vehicle that carried Nyachumbu’s body for disposal.

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