BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE CHIEF Njelele has been sucked into the case in which a 25-year-old Gokwe woman disappeared in 2019 after she was allegedly lured to South Africa by her boyfriend.
The chief, born Misheck Njelele allegedly forced the family of the woman, Tarisai Maimba to accept some clothes allegedly belonging to her, claiming she was dead.
Maimba’s mother, Annamaria Mafuvadze had filed a missing person report at Gokwe Police Station under RRB 5022624 on January 2 this year.
The matter is still pending with Maimba not confirmed dead.
According to Mafuvadze, her daughter was lured by her boyfriend Danwell Muchiiwa from Chief Njelele’s village to South Africa to look for a job on October 19, 2019.
“I used to talk to her during her first days in South Africa, but sometime later I did not have access to her with Muchiiwa now responding to the calls and messages,” Mafuvadze said in an interview.
“What was surprising is that whenever I asked to talk to her, Muchiiwa would say she is not in or give several other excuses and contradictory statements.”
At one point, Muchiiwa claimed that he assisted Maimba to travel back to Zimbabwe using the cross-border transporters commonly referred to as Omalayitsha.
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“After some time, I tried to convince him to tell us if she was alive but Muchiiwa would not. He ended up telling me that my child was in Mozambique. He gave me some phone numbers to contact people there, but we could not understand each other because of the language barrier,” said Mafuvadze.
“We again called that number on March 29, the person was talking in an Mozambican language, like broken Shona and the only thing we could understand is that the person was saying my daughter died on March 27, and was buried the following day.
“I then went to report Muchiiwa to Chief Njelele over my missing daughter, and to ask the traditional leader to summon his family so that they could convince their son to reveal the whereabouts of my daughter.”
Mafuvadze said she was surprised to learn that Chief Njelele had summoned Muchiiwa’s family where they agreed that her daughter had died in Mozambique, and that she must collect the clothes of her deceased child or be charged.
“Chief Njelele told us that Muchiiwa paid a beast towards her missing child but we only knew that when we contacted him. We suspect a cover up,” Mafuvadze said.
When contacted for comment on Thursday, Chief Njelele asked this reporter to call in 10 minutes.
But he was no longer responding to the calls since Thursday. He also did not respond to messages sent via his mobile phone.
Upon contacting the Gokwe police on the progress of the missing person report, Mafuvadze was told that the matter had been forwarded to the Interpol.
But national police spokesperson assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi could not confirm that Interpol was now involved in the case.