Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

‘KILLER’ COP GRANTED BAIL. . . Strangled boy’s family breathes fire

By Esinathy Sibanda and Yemurai Ushamba

The family of a three-year-old boy from Bulawayo who was allegedly strangled by his police officer father is locked in a bitter wrangle with the cop who allegedly hid the body and tried to conduct a burial without their knowledge.

Catherine Ndlovu with clothes of her murdered child
Catherine Ndlovu with clothes of her murdered child

Albert Nhenda (33), a constable in the Echo Troop ZRP Support Unit stationed at Fairbridge Police Camp, had allegedly processed a burial order but he was arrested last Friday before he could bury Makhosiwonke.

The boy’s mother, Ms Catherine Ndlovu (22), finally saw her son’s body on Thursday after searching for him at various funeral parlours in the city, since his death last Wednesday.

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She is in hiding, saying she feared Nhenda may harm her.

Nhenda was arrested after a postmortem done on Makhosiwonke at the United Bulawayo Hospitals concluded that the cause of death was strangulation and asphyxia.

He had allegedly tried to kill the boy thrice before.

Ms Ndlovu together with her family went searching for the boy’s remains in the city funeral parlours after they got information that Nhenda removed the body from UBH a day after the incident.

Ms Ndlovu on Wednesday told The Chronicle she feared Nhenda could steal Makhosiwonke’s body and bury it without her consent since he has the boy’s birth certificate.

“We found out that Nhenda moved Makhosi’s body from the UBH mortuary and he had already prepared for his burial. He wanted to bury our child on Friday but failed because he was arrested,” said Ms Ndlovu.

“I last saw my child on Wednesday before I left for the city centre to buy his clothes. I left him in a healthy state playing with his father. I was shocked to receive a call from Nhenda that he was seriously injured after falling from steps on the entrance to his home in Mpopoma.

“A few minutes after the call, I received another one informing me that Makhosiwonke was dead and was being taken to the mortuary.”

The body was kept at a funeral parlour in Tshabalala.

She said seeing her dead son for the first time since the Wednesday tragedy tore her heart apart.

“Seeing your own son lifeless in the mortuary, knowing that the person who did that is walking freely out there is like sticking a double edged sword into an already bleeding heart,” said Ms Ndlovu, still holding onto the clothes she bought for Makhosiwonke on the day of his death.

“I hoped he could breathe and we forget that this ever happened. I wished I could trade my life for his revival. I wished I was dead too that we may meet again in the spiritual realm but all that is impossible. He is dead for real,” she added.

Ms Ndlovu was moving around with the clothes she had bought for her son before his death, saying they are the only things that remind her of her last moments with him.

She accused Nhenda of killing the boy, adding that she will never forgive him for that.

Her family said they have engaged the police to bar Nhenda from burying the boy without their consent.

“We are waiting for formal communication from the police and it is then that we will decide when and where to bury him. The funeral parlour said they could not stop Nhenda from taking the body because he had a burial order and the burial policy was in his name,” said a family member.

They said they would not allow Nhenda to do as he pleases since he had not taken full responsibility for his son.

“We don’t recognise him as our son-in-law because he rejected the pregnancy. We will act on instructions from our elders in Filabusi. If it means getting him arrested for trying to bury our grandchild without our knowledge, we are willing to go that far,” said a family member who declined to be named.

Nhenda appeared in court on Tuesday.

Western Commonage magistrate Mr Lungile Ncube did not ask him to plead to murder charges and remanded him out of custody on $300 bail to November 5.

Nhenda is represented by Pundu and Partners.

Prosecuting, Mr Kenneth Shava said on September 26 at an unknown time, Nhenda was at his residence at block 92/7787 Mpopoma.

He sent the mother of the child to the city centre to purchase clothes for their child since she had visited with one set of clothes. He also sent the landlady to purchase some drinks.

“While alone Nhenda strangled his son and later drove him to the hospital with his friend,” Mr Shava said.

He said the boy died on his way to hospital.

Mr Shava said Nhenda and his friend drove to Western Commonage Police Station and made a report and the matter was treated as a sudden death.

A post-mortem was done at the United Bulawayo Hospitals and can be used in court as evidence. The Chronicle