ELIPHAS Chawira weeped uncontrollably while reliving the savage murder of two Chitungwiza-based Zanu PF officials last week by their colleague Proud Mupambwa, who later on allegedly took his life while in police custody.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Soaking his hands in tears as he shook his head, Chawira — who was targeted by the killer on the fateful day — could not believe he survived the axe attack.
He opened up to The Standard on Friday, giving all praise to God for his miraculous survival.
Chawira said he was not sure how he escaped Mupambwa’s savage attack that left Lloyd Jambawo and Marko Masenda — executive members of a Zanu PF district in Chitungwiza — dead.
A sombre atmosphere still engulfed Chitungwiza on Friday as those who witnessed the callous murder struggled to overcome the trauma.
They said if indeed the motivation was political, parties should start to preach the gospel of peace, tolerance and how to manage emotions.
“I can’t believe I am alive. I have to thank the Almighty. God is faithful,” Chawira said before breaking down again.
“Proud [Mupambwa] came to my house in the morning saying he wanted to iron his clothes and take my son Abraham to a Zanu PF meeting.
“Abraham is a secretary in that district where Mupambwa was vice-chair, Jambawo the treasurer and Masenda the commissar.”
He said after ironing his clothes [Mupambwa] went on to chop firewood before turning the axe on the two victims.
“The issue is eating me up and I don’t know what got into his head to do such [a thing],” Chawira said.
He had left for his workplace before Mupambwa attacked the two and was surprised to learn about the murders.
“I left while he was chopping firewood. As I was going to my work place I heard people screaming,” Chawira said.
“I turned and saw him axing Masenda twice in the head.
“I didn’t know it was Masenda being attacked to death but from the way he executed the blows, I was convinced the person died on the spot.
“I was powerless. I wanted to flee but could not and said to myself ‘he can’t attack me also because I didn’t do anything to him’.
“I even stayed with him at my place for three months and I took him as my nephew.”
“As I was standing there in disbelief, Mupambwa was advancing towards me with a blood-stained axe.
“At that time, my wife phoned me to advise me that Mupambwa had murdered two people and could even murder more.
“As I was answering the phone, Mupambwa raised the axe on me, but fortunately by the grace of God I managed to block it.
“It landed on my shoulder and I wrestled him before he left me alone. That is how I survived.”
Chawira said he was so pained by the incident and it will take time for him to get over the killings.
He said Mupambwa had planned the murders as they later learnt at a police station that he told his wife he wanted to kill five people.
He said before coming to his house Mupambwa had asked for an axe from his landlord who refused to give it to him.
“He came to my house pretending to want to iron his clothes, yet he intended to take my axe and kill,” Chawira said.
“The good thing is that I am alive and God saved me. But the two souls he killed were non-violent people and I can’t understand why he killed them.
“If it was about party positions, already Mupambwa was vice-chair and a superior to those he killed.
“Even members of the opposition should not be attacked. We should promote tolerance.”
Chawira’s son, Abraham, who fled the scene when Mupambwa was killing the two, said he was now lonely and could not figure out the source of Mupambwa’s anger.
Chawira’s second wife, Taurai Bhiza said she was still in a state of shock following the killings.
She said Mupambwa had been of a violent disposition from the time she lived with him.
“He was a violent person who could sometimes be hired as a bouncer at drinking places. He has left a wound that will take time to heal. The killings often replay in my mind and that is giving me sleepless nights,” she said.
“Maybe he took his own life after being haunted by these murders. In short, I am no longer a free person.”
Abraham’s mother, Colleta Nyamazana said she was now suffering from high blood pressure.
“Any one of us could have been killed. Maybe he wanted to take my son Abraham to a Zanu PF meeting while trying to find a way to kill him.
“I fear for the safety of my family now and what people say over the whole thing is affecting me a lot.”
Some neighbours and other residents in Chitungwiza said the incident had tainted their neighbourhood.
“Imagine, three lives have been lost so far over an issue which could have been resolved through dialogue,” Phillip Chauke said.
“Sometimes people go way too far in making a point. We should try by all means to live harmoniously as Zimbabweans.”
Zanu PF secretary for Youth Affairs, Pupurai Togarepi claimed the Chitungwiza murders were not politically-motivated.
“In my view, it is something personal and that incident was not political at all. However, violence should not have a place in our society,” he said.
“Violence will not help anybody and as youths, we don’t condone any form of violence.”
The murder victims were buried last week.