THE trial of former permanent secretary in the ministry of lands, Frederick Chunga, who is accused of murdering a farmer and severing his genitals for business rituals, continued at the High Court yesterday with one of the State witnesses giving a chilling account of how the murder was allegedly executed.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
Chunga’s former security guard Lovemore Zulu, who was at one point arrested and detained for two weeks over George Nyachumbu’s murder, told the court he was present when the latter’s body was chopped into pieces with an axe and stacked in a fertilizer bag after he was run over by Chunga.
“Before burying the body one Kenias cut his private parts and placed them in a plastic bag which he later gave to our boss (Chunga),” Zulu said.
Chunga, a farmer-cum-businessman, is being charged alongside suspected traditional healer Patricia Tembo, whom Zulu said after Nyachumbu’s body was buried, gave them some herbs ostensibly to ward-off avenging spirits, but he did not use them.
Tembo is being represented by Belinda Rupapa. As Zulu continued with his testimony, the late Nyachumbu’s relatives openly shed tears and walked out of the courtroom.
“I assisted in shoving the body into a fertilizer bag after it had been chopped into pieces and we later loaded it onto the truck ready for disposal,” Zulu said.
Asked by Chunga’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo, during cross-examination why he participated in assisting people in committing an offence Zulu said: “I know what I did was wrong, but I was threatened I could get fired from employment and I also risked being shot with a gun if I refused to participate.”
Zulu went further to tell the court that the mere mention of a firearm induced fear in him to such an extent that he failed to report the matter to anyone.
The incident leading to Nyachumbu’s death occurred between April and August 2005.
In his defence, Chunga denied knocking down Nyachumbu and told Justice Joseph Musakwa that he only came to know about the allegations when he was arrested in 2006.
Tembo also denied practising witchcraft or any traditional healing practices.
The offence came to light after disgruntled workers dropped an anonymous letter at a police station.