KWEKWE – Zimbabweans must brace for another Masendeke episode after three siblings from the family were last week accused of murdering a reveller at a Kwekwe night club on Good Friday.
The name Masendeke once brought shivers down the spines of many before notorious criminal and murderer Edgar Edmund Masendeke was hanged for his exploits 11 years ago. But it seems history is about to repeat itself after his brothers Elson, Edward and Ernest were accused of murder.
Elson has since been arrested, while Edward and Ernest are on the run. If the accusations eventually stick, then “it really runs in the Masendeke family”.
What makes the accusations against the Masendeke siblings look ironic is that a senior member of the family described the death sentence as evil as recently as October last year.
Perhaps Mr Erick Masendeke (42) did not envisage the embarrassment the three Masendeke siblings would cause to the family when he spoke about the execution of Edgar.
“Following our brother’s execution, society has a bad perception about our family,” he said.
“They think we are all murderers and we are given all sorts of names.
“The moment I mention my surname people always associate me with Edgar — even though he died 10 years ago. I think life imprisonment is (was) the best. We are not at peace because of the way our brother died. Each time we are faced with a misfortune we just think it is his spirit and we are forced to perform rituals.”
Mr Masendeke said his family members had been paying for a crime they did not commit as some families demanded to be compensated for the death of their relatives who are believed to have been murdered by Edgar.
Mr Masendeke will obviously feel let down by the accusations facing the three siblings.
However, those who are close to the Masendeke family have in the past told of the violent nature of the family members.
In 2002, a headman in the village where the Masendeke siblings grew up said they were violent by nature.
“The sons were good fighters,” he said.
“They were chips off the old block as Edmund’s father was also one of the most feared men in this area and in Kwekwe where he had all sorts of businesses.
“Some of Masendeke’s sons were notorious for stealing. They broke into every home in the neighhbourhood and stole from neighbours.”
Edgar was executed in 2002 after committing various crimes, including murder and escaping from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. In July 1995, Edgar and an accomplice, Hardlife Moses Zano, went to 77-year-old Eileen Alice Carlisle’s plot in Masvingo with the intention to commit robbery.
They ended up strangling Carlisle with an electric cord and hiding her body in a wardrobe before stealing her property and her Datsun 120Y. Edgar went on to escape from custody on remand.
On August 25 1997, Masendeke held hostage his former headmaster in Gutu district Mr Thomas Mashiri while armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. He made the school head drive to Mozambique where he released him.
Edgar once trapped revellers inside a bottle store at Farm number 98 along the Buhera-Gutu Road and went on to open fire on the shop, while more than 20 people held hostage screamed for dear life.
When he was finally captured, Edgar was accused of committing 38 sensational crimes ranging from rape, attempted murder to murder and kidnapping. He pleaded guilty to all of them.
Edgar further captivated the nation when he escaped from Chikurubi Maximum Prison in November 1995 together with other famous criminals Elias Chauke, Stephen Chidhumo, Pedzisayi Musariri and Marko Ngulube.