George Maponga in Masvingo
A Mwenezi woman and her octogenarian mother together with her son-in-law and a neighbour died within a space of two days from suspected chemical poisoning amid fears they might have inhaled a fumigant pesticide used to preserve grain in Chitanga communal lands.
Flora Siziba (56) of Masisinyani village in the Mateke Hills area died last Friday together with her mother Raila Gula (90) at the former’s homestead in a space of a few hours last Friday after the pair allegedly started complaining of severe stomach pains before sweating profusely and vomiting.
Siziba’s neighbour Thomas Ndavani (age not given) who visited her homestead after learning of her tragic death also allegedly died a few minutes after his arrival when he also complained of severe stomach pains before starting to sweat heavily and vomiting.
The bodies of Siziba, her mother and Ndavani’s were taken to Neshuro Hospital for a post-mortem on the same day after police had attended the scene.
However, tragedy struck again on November 26 after Siziba’s son-in-law who stayed at her homestead, Shepherd Mukachana (age not given) also started complaining of stomach pains and was rushed to Gezani clinic where he was treated and discharged together with Siziba’s daughter-in-law one Vimbai Chirelele.
Later on the same day, Mukachana’s condition allegedly deteriorated as he also complained of severe stomach pains before starting to sweat heavily and vomiting. He died around 3pm.
According to police, Chirelele is still in stable condition and recuperating at home.
Mwenezi police have since dispatched a team to Siziba’s homestead to collect Mukachana’s body and for a post-mortem at Neshuro Hospital.
Police said they suspect the deaths were caused by chemical poisoning linked to inhaling a fumigant pesticide though conclusive investigations are still underway.
Masvingo Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa confirmed the incident and referred all queries to national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.