CONTROVERSY and a Zimunya man are inseparable. Last year in September he was in the news for siring a child with his daughter. Last Sunday he was back at acting Chief Zimunya’s court with relatives baying for his blood accusing him of causing many deaths in the family.
Zebediah Chisamba, in his 70s, was last year in the news for siring a child with his daughter in what was described as an act of witchcraft.
However, Zebediah is believed to have met his match in the avenging spirit of a fallen comrade who is causing him sleepless nights after he stole his bone before reburial for his witchcraft rites.
Unbeknown to Zebediah was that the family had taken a stranger’s remains for reburial and the stranger could not have any of the alleged acts of wizardry.
The troubled Zebediah, who claims to be hearing drumbeats and gunshots and acting delusional from time to time, is believed to have tampered with the remains of Cde Chikukwa during a reburial ritual last year.
The baffling account, which shocked villagers in Zimunya who were present at the court, no doubt illustrates the powers of spirit mediums and all the mythical stories about the departed and avenging spirits. The Chisamba family thought they were burying the remains of their son, Leonard, who died during the liberation war struggle, but they were burying Cde Chikukwa’s remains.
Cde Chikukwa’s remains were to be expected to be reburied at Rusape District Heroes’ Acre along with six other cadres, but mysteriously the coffins got mixed up and the Chisamba family led by Zebediah ended up taking Cde Chikukwa’s coffin instead of their son, Leonard’s.
How the well-labelled coffins got mixed up for them to take the remains of Cde Chikukwa remains a mystery. At the reburial ritual at their family shrines in Muromo Village, Zebediah is alleged to have secretly stolen some body parts from the coffin for his witchcraft rites.
Little did he know it was not his son’s remains and now he suffers for his actions and the avenging spirit of Cde Chikukwa torments him every day and night.
Although Zebediah denied all the allegations levelled against him, all the Chisamba family members present pointed accusing fingers at him. They said their accusations were backed by facts availed to them after consulting traditional healers and spiritual healers who all confirmed that Zebediah was using witchcraft and causing a lot of deaths in the family.
According to Zebediah’s young brother, Morgan, the events which led to the exhumation and reburial ritual last year started in 2011.
Morgan said his two-year-old son Taurai, back then, started acting strangely always imitating soldiers on the battle front.
It was not long before he also started having weird dreams which instructed him to look for their brother, Leonard’s remains. In the dream, he was told that Leonard died in Guruve during the liberation war struggle. Morgan consulted a local prophet, Gilbert Manyeto, who told him it was the spirit of their departed brother that was manifesting itself through his son and also appearing to him.
Morgan approached the late Fallen Heroes Trust of Zimbabwe’s chief exhumer, Cde Motsi, who also confirmed that Leonard’s spirit was manifesting through the child.
With the assistance of Prophet Manyeto and Cde Motsi, Morgan managed to open communication with the spirit of their brother Leonard.
Leonard ,who was known as Cde Mapara Apisa during the liberation war struggle, was a section commander in Guruve and his spirit wanted his remains along with six other cadres from Manicaland to be reburied back home.
The six other cadres were Gugutipwa (Buhera), Mazambani (Nyanga), Chikavha (Nyanga), Dziso (Nyanga) and two Chikukwa brothers. “It was a long process for us to get resources and go to Guruve to exhume the remains of my brother and his comrades.
“We worked closely with members of the Fallen Heroes Trust and traditional leaders in Manicaland and Guruve. In some instances my brother’s spirit had to threaten some people in higher offices to get the job done, but eventually in 2013 we managed to exhume the remains and brought them to Manicaland.
“However, in Guruve my brother’s spirit told me in a dream that he did not want to be buried at the family shrine, but at a heroes’ acre saying musha wasviba (a dark cloud hung over our homestead).
“When we came with the remains of all the seven cadres to Manicaland, what is depressing is that I was not there when Zebediah and other family members took the coffin and brought it home. This was despite all my efforts to get the remains to Manicaland after the rest of the family had shown little interest in the matter.
“Zebediah hurried up things to collect the coffin in my absence. I therefore refused to be a part of the reburial rituals knowing very well that this was against Leonard’s wishes, only to later hear stories that Zebediah had taken some body parts from the coffin.
“I immediately realised why Leonard’s spirit had refused to be buried at the home shrine,” said Morgan. Morgan said after the reburial ritual last year, it was only early this year that his brother Zebediah approached him apologising. He also told him that something was tormenting him, “munzeve make mairira majeke”.
A member of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, Cde Joel Mureremba, who was furious with Zebediah, said it was sickening that he wanted to use the remains of a liberation war hero for witchcraft.
He said as an association they wanted to make sure that the remains of Cde Chikukwa be given a befitting send-off and his soul rested in peace.
Chief Zimunya adjourned the case to June 29 for a final verdict.
“This case has two issues to be solved. One concerns Zebediah’s alleged witchcraft shenanigans which his family wants exposed and the other Zebediah’s tampering with the remains in a coffin for reasons best known to him, which now haunts him.
“On June 29, the whole Chisamba family must come here again and we will resolve both these issues,” said Chief Zimunya.
Headman Bvirindi of Muromo Village was quick to say he did not accept witchcraft in his village and wished to see stern measures taken against offenders