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Matobo poisoning saga takes new twist

By Mashudu Netsianda

A STORM is brewing over the death of the six-year-old girl who was allegedly poisoned for ritual purposes at Silozwi village in Matobo District with some members of her family accusing the girl’s aunt, Mrs Prisca Moyo, of playing a part in her death. The incident occurred on Sunday last week. 

Mrs Prisca Moyo shows a handbag that contained the dipping chemical the late Nomagugu consumed
Mrs Prisca Moyo shows a handbag that contained the dipping chemical the late Nomagugu consumed

According to the police, Sifiso Ncube (36) a neighbour, arrived at Mrs Moyo’s homestead during her absence and searched in the house and found a 500 millilitre bottle containing a cattle dipping chemical which she mixed with water in an empty bottle of cascade drink.

She allegedly then tricked the girl, Nomagugu, into drinking the chemical under the pretext that it was milk. Ncube hid the remaining poison in the bush outside the homestead. She fled from the home unnoticed after allegedly giving Nomagugu the poison.

On being arrested, Ncube revealed that she was engaged by the girl’s uncles, Howard Moyo (61) and Wilson Moyo (51) to kill Nomagugu in return for a beast.

A newscrew yesterday visited Ntombo Village under Chief Malachi Masuku’s area at Silozwi and established that the girl’s family was now divided over the matter.

Mr Jotham Ndlovu (75), who is an uncle to Nomagugu’s father, said the death of his granddaughter was shrouded in controversy.

“The truth should be told and the entire community knows what exactly happened. There is something fishy in the manner police handled the case. Prisca knows what exactly happened to my granddaughter.

“She is actually the one who bought the cattle dipping chemical after having planned this whole thing of poisoning Nomagugu. In fact, there is no way someone could have entered into her (Prisca’s) bedroom and searched for something without her knowledge,” said Mr Ndlovu.

He said the death of Nomagugu has created a rift between the Moyo family and their in-laws.

“As things stand, we are really confused because our in-laws (the family of Nomagugu’s mother) are bitter about this whole issue. They are accusing us of teaming up to kill Nomagugu and they are now demanding an explanation,” said Mr Ndlovu.

Mr Ndlovu’s wife, Juliet, echoed her husband’s sentiments.

“Police should get to the bottom of this matter because already some innocent people have been arrested for a crime that they could possibly not have committed. What is surprising is that Prisca bought the chemical under the guise that she wanted to apply it to her two cattle yet we had already done that. We are keeping those animals in our kraal,” she said.

Mr Ndlovu said they intended to engage police so that they could conduct more investigations. The family will meet today to discuss the way forward.

Mr Ndlovu said Nomagugu was buried on Sunday at Wilson Moyo’s homestead and there was no burial order. Nomagugu had been left under the custody of her aunt, Mrs Moyo by her father who works in South Africa after her mother allegedly abandoned her.

Mrs Moyo maintained her innocence, saying it was only a few individuals who were influencing the family to gang up against her.

“I have been staying with Nomagugu since 2011 after her mother had approached me seeking my help because the girl’s father was no longer taking care of his daughter. She then asked me to look after her and since that time I have been staying with her and I don’t see any reason why I would poison her.

“There are some people within the family who think that I am actually behind the killing of Nomagugu and they now want to influence others into believing the story,” she said.

Mrs Moyo said on the fateful day at about 8am, she left Nomagugu under the care of her 16-year-old daughter, Elta Moyo, to do some laundry at a nearby well.

“I was busy washing clothes when my daughter came running and she told me that Nomagugu was coughing and vomiting. I immediately left my laundry and rushed back home and we found her lying on the ground and she was vomiting and coughing,” she said.

Mrs Moyo said she discovered that her vomit contained a smell of the cattle dipping chemical.

“I then spotted Ncube as she was passing by my homestead and I asked her to assist me take Nomagugu who was already in a critical condition to the clinic. Initially, we gave her cooking oil and cow dung in an effort to revive her but it did not work.

“I then asked Howard and Wilson to assist us get transport to ferry Nomagugu to the clinic and on our way, we started arguing as they insisted that we return with her home, saying it was a waste of time and resources as she would not make it to the clinic,” said Mrs Moyo.

Nomagugu’s aunt returned to her homestead with her niece who was already unconscious at about 1pm and undertook several attempts to revive her.

The girl, however, died at about 4pm on the same day leading to the arrest of Ncube after investigations were carried out. Ncube was taken in for questioning upon which she implicated the other accused persons by revealing that they had offered her a beast as payment for killing their brother’s daughter.

She also led the police who recovered the poison which was hidden at a nearby bush and also revealed that they intended to use the body for ritual purposes.

According to preliminary investigations by police, the Moyo brothers engaged Ncube as she is close to the family and she is a neighbour of the girl’s parents. The three accused persons appeared at Plumtree magistrate’s court on Saturday and they were remanded in custody to 8 November.

Matabeleland South acting provincial police spokesperson Sergeant Nkosilathi Sibanda said they were still investigating. The Chronicle

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