Gokwe is still awash with stories around the struggle for justice by slain MDC-T activist Moses Chokuda who was buried on Saturday, exactly two years and seven months after he was killed by four Zanu PF activists.
Reports indicate people around the community, including nurses at Gokwe District Hospital where Chokuda’s body was kept all this time, and the village headman, at one time encountered the late young man as his tormented spirit lingered around seeking justice and vengeance.
There is talk about how the late activist, now known around Gokwe as mukomana (the young man), tormented Edmore Gana and Abel Maphosa, two of the four men who killed him, until they turned to God for salvation.
Chief Misheck Njelele said Chokuda’s spirit had become notorious in the area and he was glad the matter had come to rest, hoping his subjects would not find themselves fighting avenging spirits.
Human rights organisation, Zimrights, has since printed T-shirts discouraging youths from being used as political tools to kill perceived enemies.
The message on the T-shirts reads: “Ngozi haiteveri akutuma, inotevera iwe, (Avenging spirits will not go after those who sent you, but after you who has been used).”
Headman Kally Mashizha told NewsDay avenging spirits were real and killing people was traditionally a no-go area. He said the battle waged by Chokuda, although long and painful, was necessary and would teach people in Gokwe the sanctity of human life.
“You don’t just kill a human being like that. Life has to be respected. And truly, the fight by Moses was painful, but necessary to teach our people a lesson. I hope they have learnt,” said Mashizha.
Councillor Obert Chinyama said a bad omen had befallen the people of Gokwe because of the murder of Chokuda and now that he was buried and his spirit appeased, a heavy burden had been lifted.
“People here in Ndlele ward 16, have rested after his spirit has been appeased. We even blamed his death for droughts. Everything bad which happened around here was blamed on the avenging spirit. Now we are resting.
We are happy that this matter which troubled the people of Gokwe has come to a closure,” he said.
He said he did not believe the dead can rise to torment the living since he was a Christian, but there was general belief in African culture that spirits of murdered people will seek justice.
“Even when there is nothing, the fear of an evil spirit haunting you can make you see things and your worst fears will manifest and become real,” Chinyama said.
Finance minister Tendai Biti also weighed in saying people need to respect the traditional ways of settling disputes. He said those who have killed people should seek reconciliation using the tried and tested traditional ways of appeasement.
The burial was made possible following negotiations facilitated by Chief Njelele who spent three days brokering a peace deal between the Machaya family, whose son and friends killed Chokuda, and the Chokudas.
MDC-T provincial spokesperson for Midlands North Abraham Mtshena said: “This is not only unique to this matter. If people continue to kill others they will suffer the consequences. It won’t end with Moses. Avenging spirits are real.”
The deceased’s father, Tavengwa, said his son had fought a lone battle and wanted justice for his family, especially after suffering a violent death at the hands of Farai Machaya and his colleagues.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the body of the slain Chokuda remained fresh two years and seven months after he was killed.
No body viewing was held before the corpse was finally buried.
No matter what happens now, Chokuda was feared by those who killed him and respected by a community tired of seeing the mighty and powerful, bullying them into submission.
Chief Njelele closed his speech at the graveside by pleading with the Chokudas not to send their son’s spirit after him if he had erred in any way during the long and protracted negotiations.