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MP refuses to honour dead wife

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Franco Ndambakuwa, the Magunje MP who impregnated a minor and reportedly drove her to suicide after continual abuse, is allegedly refusing to finance the memorial service of his late teenage wife because her relatives exposed him in the media and had sought to have him arrested for statutory rape and abuse.

Ndambakuwa made newspaper headlines recently when his wife Wilmer Tawana, whom he impregnated and took for a wife when she was still 15, committed suicide allegedly after suffering abuse at the hands of the MP.

Tawana’s relatives said in interviews this week that they had given the MP room to arrange the date of the memorial service for Tawana and finance the ceremony but he had flatly refused to cooperate, accusing the relatives of soiling his name and seeking to have him jailed.

Although the relatives claimed police had visited them and took statements from them over the relationship between Ndambakuwa and the teenager and that the MP was assisting with investigations, police have refused to comment.

The matter which appeared to have died a natural death has been rekindled by allegations that Ndambakuwa has refused to finance his wife’s memorial service.

“We had given him the task to arrange the memorial service for his wife but now he is saying he cannot be involved because we wanted to have him arrested,” said Owen Tawana, a brother of the late Wilmer.

Contacted to comment on the allegations this week, Ndambakuwa said he was in the United Kingdom and threatened this reporter with unspecified action.
“You want to pull me down you people,” the MP fumed.

“Remember you are talking to a big man.

What does my wife’s memorial service have to do with you? Are you her relative?

“I know you want me arrested but you must not forget that I’m a big man, guys,” he said before switching off his phone.

Wilmer’s uncle, Felix Mudimu, said the family had waited for a long time for Ndambakuwa to organise the memorial service for his wife but the MP did not seem to be co-operative.

“He is yet to come to us with a date and recently he has been saying that since we wanted him arrested, there was no way he could finance the memorial service,” said Mudimu.

Ndambakuwa is alleged to have impregnated the then 15 year-old girl, married her to avoid prosecution and then abused her until she committed suicide.

When NewsDay broke the story, there was a hue and cry from women’s groups over the MP’s behaviour with calls that he should be arrested.

Some human rights groups said they would investigate the matter and would fight until justice was done.

The Magunje MP did not deny abusing the girl but instead defended his actions saying he beat her up because she was “promiscuous”.

“What would you do if your wife sleeps with other men?”

Ndambakuwa retorted in response to a question on whether he had abused her teenage wife.

He paid the girl’s parents two head of cattle and $300 as bride price, according to Shona tradition, before the family agreed to bury their daughter at their homestead.

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