Former senior cop in murder storm
AN inquest is set to be held for a woman who was allegedly poisoned to death in a fight over inheritance in which a former Assistant Commissioner in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Mrs Marian Tigere (71) has been embroiled with her brother and her sibling arrested for the suspected poisoning.
The late Sabina Gwindingwi died last year in July after consuming herbs brought by her husband Mr Victor Gwindingwi’s sister Mrs Georgina Gwindingwi-Chikoka, young sister to Mrs Tigere.
Postmortem results indicated that she had been poisoned leading to Mrs Gwindingwi-Chikoka’s arrest under CR756/21 for murder however Mrs Tigere reportedly sought her release.
The police then forwarded the docket for an inquest which has been set for October 7 at the Harare Magistrates Courts in Court 10.
However, Police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of Mrs Gwindingwi- Chikoka and the dates of the inquest
“We are handling the matter. The docket is at the courts and an inquest has been set for October 7 at the Harare Magistrates Courts in Court number 10. Otherwise, all the details you have about the matter are the ones we also have,” Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said.
The former senior cop Mrs Tigere ‘s fight with her brother, Mr Gwindingwi for their later father, Mr Abel Mugwagwa Chinemhute’s inheritance started over 19 years ago.
The late Chinemhute died on November 19, 2003 after his wife Lucia Chawapiwa had died six years earlier on November 6,1998.
For the recent past after the arrest of her sibling Mrs Tigere has been sending audios to her brother reportedly celebrating the death of his wife, raising suspicions of having a hand in the poisoning which Mr Gwindingwi apportioned to his other sibling, Mrs Gwindingwi-Chikoka.
She had reportedly gotten the herb from a traditional healer identified as Sekuru Tengenyika Mungwari in Mudzimurema, Chihota for her sister-in-law Sabina who was suffering from a suspected cancerous ailment.
After eating the herb, reports say her condition deteriorated and died on 30 July last year.
She was buried on 3 August the same year without a post mortem due to the Covid-19 situation.
The doctor had diagnosed her ailment as vomiting, loss of appetite and no communication despite that she had arrived at the hospital unconscious.
The body of the now deceased is alleged to have turned black and all the relatives could not recognize her just three days after her death.
Her daughter, Mrs Lucia Chiteza had to inspect the body and later positively identified her through a scar on one of her toes which was inflicted by a snake bite while she was still a teenager.
However, the children failed to get closure as they suspect foul play. They decided to apply for an exhumation of the body for a postmortem two weeks after burial.
The body was taken to Harare where samples and an examination was only done a year later in July this year, due to some operational constraints at the laboratories and results indicated that there were traces of metolachlor – a herbicide effective against grass.
A report was made to the police leading to Mrs Gwindingwi-Chikoka’s arrest under case number, CR 756/08/22 but her sister, Mrs Tigere reportedly intervened using her influence as a former senior cop and got her released.
In an interview with this publication at his Dzivarasekwa home, Mr Gwindingwi said he suspects that her sister, Mrs Giwndigwi-Chikoka had a hand in the death of his wife accusing Mrs Tigere of being the mastermind.
Mrs Tigere had reportedly been furious and openly accused the late Sabina for influencing her husband to deny her the position of village head and the inheritance left by their parents.
Her accusations are also contained in audios she sent to her brother, Mr Gwindingwi in the ongoing wrangle.
“At one point we were involved in a war of words with Marian over inheritance and the position of village head which she wanted.
“She even took the matter to Mhondoro at Chief Nherera’s court but she lost the case,” Mr Gwindingwi said.
Disgruntled by the judgement, he said, her sister Mrs Tigere transferred the matter to Chief Ngezi where the case was dealt with by chief’s aides who ruled that the land must be shared.
However, Mr Gwindingwi approached the Chief Council and the judgement by Chief Ngezi’s aides was set aside.
“Mrs Tigere even took the matter to the courts and the Master of High Court advised her that she had no claim to the inheritance which involved cattle and land since she is a married woman who has her own assets in the obtaining marriage,” Mr Gwindingwi said.
It was reported that at this period, Tigere and Mrs Chikoka teamed up against their brother and took advantage of his wife’s ailment to poison her.
“My wife initially had been given some herbs by my sister, Georgina’s brother-in-law, Sekuru Mungwari who is a traditional healer as we suspected breast cancer.
“So my wife innocently asked Georgina to bring her some more herbs from Sekuru Mungwari when she comes to Harare since she is married in his family,” he said.
His sister reportedly came with the herbs when the whole family was supposed to travel to Mhondoro the following day for a ceremony to put a tombstone at their later parents’ grave.
Mr Gwindingwi said when they returned from the rural areas that is when his late wife Sabina advised him about the herbs which Mrs Gwindingwi- Chikoka had brought for her.
“She told me that she didn’t not take the herbs when we were going to Mhondoro since they cause some stomach upsets. My wife took the herbs which were in a khaki paper and licked them all,” he said.
He said her condition deteriorated gradually and the following day they had to rush her to hospital unconscious where she eventually died after a day of admission.
Mr Gwindingwi said both his sisters, Mrs Gwindingwi-Chikoka and Mrs Tigere did not attend the funeral citing different reasons.
“That’s when my children decided to exhume her, we did all the processes and the body was exhumed two weeks after burial and samples taken from her body. However, the examinations were done on July 5, 2022 and revealed she was poisoned,” Mr Gwindingwi said.
“That’s when we suspected my sister Georgina who had brought the herbs since my wife licked them before eating anything until the time of her death. Things started to add up to my mind because during the three weeks we were in Mhondoro, my sister Georgina’s actions were very suspicious as she appeared to be anticipating something to happen to my wife. One of the other night around 11pm she even came to our hut while were sleeping asking if my wife is not feeling well out of nowhere, however I did not suspect that it will come this far,” he said.
He said their workers even confirmed having seen her several nights tiptoeing to our hut and seem to be listening from outside.
“To me it shows that the plan was well-choreographed, they anticipated that my wife would carry this herb to Mhondoro such that if she takes it, she would die there and considering the Covid-19 restrictions which were in place, we were not going to send the body for postmortem,” he said.
Mr Gwindingwi said they made a police report leading to Georgina’s arrest but his sister Tigere came into the picture and reportedly started interfering with the matter and helped with her release.
“I was advised by one of the officers dealing with the matter that she was putting undue influence. Georgina was released from the cells without going to court and the police later advised that the matter has go for an inquest. I don’t know why they said so when we have a suspect. Right now we are waiting to hear the date of the inquest,” he said.
This publication has seen the post mortem results which show that metazachlor was detected in the liver sample which is “an acetamide herbicide; resulting in compromised cardiac function”.
When contacted for comment, Mrs Tigere became evasive dismissing the matter as “not newsworthy for a newspaper journalist”.
“If you are really from The Sunday Mail, you should be in a position to know that this is not newsworthy at all. It is just a domestic issue which we can just resolve as a family with no external influence,” said Mrs Tigere.
She said since she has worked in the police force, she knows the law and its dictates on matters like the one in question which she dismisses as baseless and malicious.
“I was once a police officer and I know what to say to the Press and what not to say. What I can tell you is that, the case is there but there is no tangible evidence that is why the police let me free,” she said.
However, Mrs Tigere confirmed that she is and will continue fighting her brothers over the property left by their parents and for the position of village head despite her still living at her husband’s place.
“Remember we are fighting over our father’s inheritance which we are rightfully entitled to benefit from. I tell you as female children we are going to fight until we get what we want. If it is Victor who paid you to unearth this issue, then I refer you to go to the police and get what you want from there. But tell Victor that he will not win this case,” Mrs Tigere
“We are now in the new era where we are no longer guided by the old customs (mitemo yetsvimbo) of traditional chiefs, we are now equal with our brothers now,” she declared before she hung up.”
In audios allegedly sent by Mrs Tigere to her brother, Mr Gwindingwi she appeared to be celebrating his wife’s death accusing her of being the one who was controlling him over in the inheritance saga.
“Unonditi ndotonga. I was a police officer I will tell the truth, Chero ukada nhaka zvako unoigara nani pasina mukadzi. Ichiri imba iyoyo? Yatofumuka. Watofumukasoo nekufa kwake. Dai uriwe wakatofa.
“Hadzvadzi rega kutanga hondo neni haipere you know it very well. I don’t give up. Ini ndakatotumwa, ndosaka ndakakuudza musi uya kuti hadzvanzi rega kukwezvera rufu kumba kwako. Waiva musi wani? Musi wa 3 July (last year) tichipopotedzana kumusha, Mai Abel (Sabina) wachivigwa musi wa 3 August (last year). Tsvaga, zvitsvage kuti zvorewei. Ndirikukuudza regedza kupinza vana munjodzi. Izvozvo zvakwana watotaridzwa naMwari hasha dzacho watokutaridza kudhara,” Mrs Tigere said.
She continued with her rants, “Dai muri vanhu wanofunga ka, handizive kuti mungatadze kuona, kune munhu angakutauirirei kuti ndikuda munda waunoziva kuti unemheremhere une guva riri apa kana makatarisa,”
“Ndiri kudzokorora futi zviya zvandakataura. Regedza kupinza vana munjodzi nekuda nhaka. Nhaka haiite ndoda kukutaurira. That’s why iwe wainditi unoda kutonga musha, iwe wanga usingatongwe na Sabina here hadzvadzi, asingazvizive ndiani? Everybody knows kuti, even ipapa panhaka yedu Sabina was spearheading the quarrels, ndiye akanga aripamberi. Ndiye akanga aripamberi, vana waMai Koliwe warikuti vachifona kuda kutaura na Mai Koliwe kumusha, mukadzi wako ndiye aibva atora foni nenyaya yenhaka iyoyi.”
When contacted for a comment, Mrs Gwindingwi- Chikoka was quick to distance herself from the story before hanging up the call.
“I have nothing to do with that, go to the police and hear from them. Maybe it is you who poisoned her not me. Leave me alone.” Mrs Gwindingwi -Chikoka said.
The traditional herbalist, Mr Mungwari did not mince his words, accusing Mrs Gwindingwi Chikoka of “witchcraft” and being the hand behind the poisoning.
“Mrs Gwindingwi Chikoka is a “witch”, I used to suspect it. She came to me and asked for the herbs to go and give it to her sister-in-law (late Sabina). She pestered me for a long time but I refused to give her considering that I had given Mrs Gwindingwi (late Sabina) the herbs and her cancer had for long healed. Mrs Chikoka insisted that she wanted her to continue taking the herbs,” Mr Mugwari said.
“I even tasted the herbs before giving it to her (Mrs Chikoka) and I told her that I usually don’t give herbs to someone who is absent but because of her insistence, I gave in and gave her since she was my sister in law. I have vast experience in healing people using the same herb, even government officials come here to get my herbs. Mrs Chikoka should have added poison to the herb as a cover-up and police should do its work to unravel the truth.”
This publication visited Mhondoro to the Gwindingwi family homestead and land under dispute and also Chief Nherera’s court who once dealt with the matter.
He however said Mrs Tigere was unsatisfied by his judgment which he had ruled that since she was married she could not inherit the land and the village head position ahead of his brother Mr Gwindingwi.
Chief Herrera said after he delivered his judgment, Tigere took the matter to another traditional leader Chief Ngezi who has no jurisdiction over the area.
However, a close relative in the Chikonyora village revealed that Mrs Tigere has been fighting his brothers for more for 19 years as she once caused the arrest of her other brother Caleb using her position in ZRP over another land dispute which is not the one currently being fought for.
It is said Tigere even drew an unknown pistol and threatened to kill Caleb if he continued to challenge her, the action which still frightens the brother to date.
“She made her brother spend more than two years attending court over the issue that he slapped her to the extent that the brother lost 21 cows selling them to foot lawyer’s bills,” said one villager who refused to be named in fear for victimisation.
All these quarrels, the villager said, could have made Tigere and her sister to connive with each other to eliminate their sister-in-law whom they accused of influencing their brothers of depriving them a share in the inheritance.
Mrs Tigere is not new to controversy, in 2010 she grabbed headlines when she connived with her now late husband, Mr Spencer Tigere who was also a former police boss that he involve himself in extra marital affairs with two women with the intention of extorting them.
At this time, Mrs Tigere who was working in the RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit extorted US$5 000 from Pastor Anna Mupawaenda of Gunhill and R4 000 from Ms Charity Chidarura of Avonlea whom she threatened with a pistol accusing them of having affairs with her husband.
However the two women reported Mrs Tigere and the late husband for kidnaping, assault, pointing a firearm and extortion.
The couple was jailed for two and three years respectively but was released from prison through bail pending appeal before her husband eventually died.