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‘He was my right hand brother’

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Two weeks after the cold blood murder of Chifundo Vitalis Masukwedza, a Zimbabwean businessman, police are yet to arrest the suspect.

The Zimbabwean Embassy in Lilongwe has since issued a statement asking the police to speed up the investigations.

Masukwedza was shot dead by one of the people he had carried in his car, a Mercedez Benz, along the Mchinji road in the afternoon of November 11, 2022.

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Police immediately launched investigations but they are yet to make a breakthrough.

“The suspect is not arrested yet,” said Central Region police spokesperson Alfred Chimthere yesterday when we asked him on the status of the matter.

Zimbabwean Embassy reaction The Zimbabwean Embassy has since issued a statement on the matter, hoping for speed on the investigations.

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But it also has a word of advice to people of the two countries.

“While investigations are underway, the Embassy would like to reiterate its position on the need to resolve issues amicably and avoid violence, taking note that Malawi and Zimbabwe are among the most peaceful nations in the world,” reads the statement signed by Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to Malawi, Nancy Saungweme.

Saungweme further says the Embassy has also taken note of various reports circulating on social media surrounding the circumstances that led to Masukwedza’s death.

According to the Embassy, it has left the task of investigating the matter in the hands of the mandated institution, namely, the police.

“The Embassy calls upon the Malawi Police Service to expedite the investigations so that the culprits are brought to book,” reads the statement. Burial of Masukwedza took place in Zimbabwe last week after which his brother and employer, Pardon Masukwedza, travelled to Mchinji Police on Friday to give his statement.

We spoke with Pardon.

According to him, he had employed his brother as a salesman in 2020. As the business grew –now with two branches in Lilongwe and Blantyre — he elevated his brother to be manager of the enterprise in Malawi.

Pardon runs PM Motors Mercedes which sells Mercedes Benz vehicles spare parts in Malawi, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia, among other countries in the region.

Pardon, who says he is based in South Africa and just visits Malawi to monitor the business, said the death of his brother came as a blow to the family and business.

“He was a pillar to my other brother who is in Blantyre. As a family, we have lost our dear one.

“We used to do charity work together. He was my right hand brother from my village, Chikukutu in Mashonaland East,” Pardon said.

On the business front, Pardon said although there were frictions at times regarding the management of the business, they were good business partners.

For example, he said, there were times that he could not account for some money for the business, to an extent that at some point he reported him to Area 3 Police Station.

But they had mended fences, he indicated. He said that before he travelled back to South Africa to sort out his house issue in court, he invited his brother and his family for a chat with his family. “We met at Game complex in Lilongwe.

I extended my forgiveness to him in the presence of his wife,” Pardon said.

He said he had left for South Africa a day before his brother was gunned down. While in Zimbabwe on his way to South Africa, he heard about the killing of his brother from the other brother.

“I drove to the village the same night and met the family in the morning,” he said.

Preliminary police report According to a preliminary police report issued by Mchinji Police Station hours after the murder, Masukwedza, 31, was residing in Biwi in Lilongwe.

He was shot on the forehead by an unknown person that he had carried in his vehicle.

The report says the deceased was driving his vehicle –a Mercedes Benz, registration number NN 856, black in colour — from Lilongwe direction to Mchinji in the company of a girlfriend called Mirriam Saidi, born on June 9, 1993 from Msikatema village, Traditional Authority Mponda, Mangochi and two unknown Zimbabweans.

The report says the two Zimbabweans needed help as they said they had a breakdown of their vehicle on the Mchinji road.

Masukwedza picked one Zimbabwean along the by-pass road while the other at Njewa along the Mchinji road.

Upon reaching Nkhwazi area, the deceased, according to the report, became suspicious of the distance covered and one Zimbabwean dropped off and hired a motorcycle.

After a few minutes, the other Zimbabwean also told the driver that he wanted to follow his friend using another means.

Upon arrival at Nantchola-Likasi forest, the other Zimbabwean asked the driver to stop.

It is at this point that the Zimbabwean is said to have taken out a pistol rifle and shot the deceased.

The girlfriend escaped from the scene, according to the report.

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