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Zingwangwa shooting: what wife’s family suspects

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A family of Grace Kabula Chipanda, who together with her 14-year-old son, were allegedly shot dead by her husband, Charles Chipanda, has said they suspect the husband arrived at the shooting decision to prevent the wife from revealing that he was a criminal.

The family’s assumption is in sharp contrast to the other school of thought that alleges the man shot the two before killing himself on suspicion that the wife was going out with other men.

On Sunday night, the husband is believed to have shot dead his wife and a Standard 7 step-son before shooting himself inside the house that the family rented in Blantyre’s Zingwangwa Township.

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Posting on one of the WhatsApp groups, a cousin to the wife, Steve Taulo, said after discovering that the husband was a probable criminal, Grace confronted the husband and expressed her desire to leave the marriage but the man threatened to kill her.

“When Grace discovered that her husband was involved in some sinister activities after she discovered a gun in the house (armed robberies (sic) and possibly murders) she confronted him and expressed her desire to leave the marriage and rejoin her daughters in Bangwe. (She had already consulted my mother and other family members (sic) on this). The husband fearing if she left, she was going to snitch on him started threatening to kill, her. She reversed her decision but the abuse was intensifying.

“This culminated into a total breakdown of the relationship and Grace was convinced she needed to get out of it. She telephoned my aunt (Mrs Kalitera) and asked if she could move to her house 1st before rejoining her daughters in Bangwe for safety reasons.”

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Taulo said Kabula Chipanda’s daughters have a kid each so she left them in Bangwe where she owns houses that her late father and mother left.

According to the family, upon seeing that Grace was serious with her intentions to leave his house, the husband then took matters into his own hands and made a decision to ‘deliver judgment.’

“The family believes she was forced at gun point to write that confession note and sign (I cannot confirm this because there were only 3 people in the house and them all dead). Then the execution began.

“Gift is a victim of a witness to murder. He had experienced (sic) the abuse and heard the whole story and was gonna tell a contrary one to the confession note. So he had to go,” Taulo’s WhatsApp message reads.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Taulo said what he wrote was what family members believe might have led to the shooting incident.

“At least, that’s what people in our family think and the boy might be a victim of circumstances as he was a witness to whatever was happening. But as I said in that WhatsApp post, I cannot confirm our assumptions as all people who were in that house when the incident happened are now dead,” Taulo said.

Taulo said the woman, who was working as a stores clerk at an Anglican Church’s Chitawira-based offices, had three children who included two older girls and the slain boy Gift.

She married Chipanda last year.

Blantyre Police Station spokesperson, Elizabeth Divala, said whatever people might be saying related to the incident are just mere speculations but police are still investigating.

Asked on whether Chipanda was on their wanted criminal list, Divala said there is no such information so far.

In an interview just after the incident was reported to police on Monday afternoon, Divala said the police found a pistol and nine live ammunitions on the scene of the incident

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