The judge, mystery and burial drama
By Lincoln Towindo and Edwin Mwase
The relatives of Bindura businesswoman Ms Gladys Mangwiro, who reportedly died after being intimate with High Court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe, caused a scene at her burial yesterday when they barred fellow mourners from viewing the body, further stoking the mystery around her sudden death last week.
Hundreds of mourners who had gathered at a heavily fortified Pote Safari Camp, some 20km outside Bindura for the burial, were shocked after the master of ceremony announced the cancellation of body-viewing.
Their bewilderment was compounded by the fact that the segment had been listed on the programme. Some of the mourners could be heard murmuring as pall-bearers lifted the casket for interment.
The programme began with prayer and dedication at Ms Mangwiro’s home along Hay Street, Bindura, in the morning. The funeral procession then headed to Pote Safari Camp, where a service was conducted.
The camp was among the businesswoman’s properties.
According to the widely distributed programme, body-viewing was to follow after family, friends and members of the local community and church had delivered their speeches.
The gathering listened intently to each speaker, as they brought to life Ms Mangwiro’s personality and deeds. The mourners were, however, taken aback after the sudden announcement that the body was not open to viewing.
This came a day after the family instructed police to immediately stop investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of the businesswoman at her home on Thursday night.
Her 31-year-old son, Kudzanai Kujenga, reportedly caused the cancellation of a post-mortem with the family insisting there was no foul play as she was asthmatic.
To add to the secrecy at the ceremony, mourners were strictly instructed not to take pictures while The Sunday Mail photographer, Kudakwashe Hunda, was sternly warned to keep his camera far away from proceedings.
This news crew could not establish if Justice Hungwe attended.
Speakers at the funeral described Ms Mangwiro, who was the 2010 Mashonaland Central Businesswoman of the Year, as a kind and hard-working woman.
Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Advocate Martin Dinha said she was his family’s close friend and had worked hard for the development of Bindura.
“I had a hurtful premonition on the day she died,” he said.
“Just as I had been shown that I was going to be a minister before I pulled out of the party’s primary elections, I knew that something bad was brewing for my dear friend.
“I tried calling her that night, but could not get through to her and it was then that I got a feeling that something was not right.
“She, however, leaves us with plenty of lessons to learn from and hope that her legacy will continue to live on long after she is gone.”
On the fateful night, tragedy struck between 7pm and 8 pm, when Justice Hungwe was reportedly being “intimate” with Ms Mangwiro.
It is alleged the judge discovered she was unwell and reportedly drove to the local police station to contact the ambulance service. He, however, reportedly failed to get through to the service and drove to the hospital.
A medical crew then accompanied him back to Ms Mangwiro’s house, where they discovered her naked body with blood and froth on her mouth.
An inhaler was also discovered next to the body.
She was later confirmed dead.
Justice Hungwe then reportedly drove back to the police station where he informed officers of the developments. Police went to the scene. Relatives reportedly diverted the body to a private funeral parlour instead of a Government hospital mortuary. The Sunday Mail