Avenging spirit claims 10 lives

. . . wife reveals three-decade secret

Liberty Dube Weekender Correspondent —
A NYANGA couple did the unthinkable, murdered their employee before cutting off his privates for ritual purposes.

However, this backfired terribly for the Ruwende family as the domestic employee, a Mozambican national’s avenging spirit, wreaked havoc in the family, claiming 10 lives in the process.

Although the perpetrators of the ritual killing tried to keep it under wraps for more than 30 years, the cat was recently let out of the bag at Chief Saunyama’s court.

The mastermind of Peter Zhuwawo’s ritual murder, Wilson Ruwende is long dead, leaving his partner in crime and wife, Margaret to pay the price of their sins.

Margaret Ruwende nee Doto (62) confessed to the murder and told Chief Saunyama’s court that she had also accompanied her husband to South Africa where they intended to handover Zhuwawo’s private parts to enhance their business.

However, the mission to South Africa failed to yield the desired results as the n’anga refused to take them arguing that they were ‘no longer fresh’.

“We killed him together with my husband. We dumped Zhuwawo’s privates in Masvingo on our way back after the South African n’anga disappointed us. He refused to take them because they were no longer fresh. We had spent more than three days after killing Zhuwawo to travel to South Africa,” said the tearful Margaret during the ceremony.

She revealed that they committed the ritual murder to enhance their grinding mill and retail business. It, however, failed to work according to their plan.

“From then on, Zhuwawo’s avenging spirit started tormenting us. We lost more than 10 relatives in mysterious deaths. We also encountered countless misfortunes, but we kept the heinous secret under wraps until we were tired of the calamities. I also lost my husband along the way. I thank God that this will be put to an end today. So many people have suffered including my nephew, Enock Doto,” she added.

Enock who was present during the cleansing ceremony is mentally challenged.

Zhuwawo, during the ceremony, manifested through Maggie Ruwende who he chose to be his “wife”.

Scores of villagers jostled to catch a glimpse of the proceedings as several other people got possessed and fell into trances.

During an interview, Maggie started groaning and wailing before the traditional healer, Shingirai Mukotsanjera, ordered her to wear a red and white gown. She chronicled her ordeal in deep Ndau dialect with a Portuguese tone.

She also confessed to have killed Wilson, Bernadette and Dennis Ruwende in anger.

“I used to stay in Gorongosa in Mozambique when I came here to work for Wilson and Margaret as a herd boy. I was an orphan. Margret and Wilson laced my food with poison. I died, but the couple kept me in a dark room for three days. They removed my privates and travelled to South Africa to hand them over to a n’anga. Because I was angry, I made sure that they would reach there when my parts had gone bad. I killed Wilson exactly the way he killed me after I sent his friend to lace his food with poison. After today, I will stop killing people or causing misfortune to the Ruwende family if they appease my spirit.

“I will then visit the Doto family (in Tendanai Village, Nyatate) to torment them. I want them to give me the same things that I am receiving here today. Although I was buried in Nyanga, my spirit was raised by Mukotsanjera. I am now a grown up,” she said.

Margaret appeased the spirit by handing over four beasts and groceries.

Popular traditional healer and exorcist, Mukotsanjera, who conducted the session, said once Zhuwawo’s demands were met, his spirit would rest in peace and would not torment any of the two families.

“I am a traditional healer who on this particular event is working as an intermediate between the Ruwende family and Zhuwawo’s spirit. Zhuwawo was bitter with the way he was killed and was determined to wipe out the whole of Ruwende and Doto families. The Ruwende family has been plagued with mysterious deaths and illnesses, among other misfortunes. Margaret confessed her sins and she is willing to appease the spirit. She will be a free woman after this,” he said.

In a separate interview, acting Chief Saunyama, said cases of avenging spirits seeking appeasement had escalated.

“We are receiving such cases on a daily basis. My court is inundated with families who are seeking recourse over murder issues.

“Shockingly, most of them will be associated with ritual murder killings. Most people, during those days, would kill to enhance their businesses. The only way out is to appease the avenging spirits. We are, however, glad that most families who would have admitted to have committed such ritual cases are willing to come aboard and appease the avenging spirits,” said Chief Saunyama.