Death that shook Mapoloto community
A COMMUNITY in shock and a family in mourning; this is what the death of Chama Njobvu, aged 25, has left behind.
In the early hours of Saturday, May 20, Chama’s life was cut short when he was allegedly beaten and later set ablaze in his two-roomed house in Chilenje’s Mapoloto area.
He died the following day in University Teaching Hospital (UTH).
The motive for his murder remains a mystery for now, but the community has its own speculations. Zambia police arrested five suspects in the matter who are yet to be formally charged.
A check at the house where he was staying shows remnants of what used to be Chama’s dwelling place.
From the ashes, it is evident that whatever property was in the house was burnt that fateful Saturday and that Chama was attacked by the people who followed him home.
And the memories of that inferno and screams for help by Chama will for long time linger in the minds of his close neighbors who witnessed the incident.
Penious Mwachiyaba, whose cabin is right across Chama’s house, said he will never forget the events of Saturday May, 20 for many years to come.
Mwachiyaba, said between 02:00 and 03:00, he heard disturbances outside but thought nothing of it because they live near a road.
But the noise continued and kept him awake for a while, but because of the criminal activities in Mapoloto area, he said he did not go outside to check.
Later, he heard Chama calling for help, but was too scared to go and help him because he did not know who was attacking him or what they were armed with.
“Then it went silent for a while. Then there were footsteps and then explosion from Chama’s cabin and everything was in flames. Chama started screaming for help again,” Mr Mwachiyaba said.
He said when he peeped through his window, he saw Chama in flames in his bedroom and by then the neighbors had also heard the blast and started screaming for people to come out and help.
Mwachiyaba said they struggled to remove Chama from the inferno and by the time he was eventually out, he was badly burnt and unconscious.
“That image of his burnt body will haunt me forever. I will never understand how anybody can do that to another human being. He was such a jovial young man. He always had time to stop and greet people. I can’t believe he’s gone just like that,” he said.
His family is equally numb with shock.
They said Chama was well- liked and known in the area and cannot think of any reason why anybody would want him dead, let alone in the manner that he died.
His father, Julius Njobvu, said he still cannot believe that his First-born son is dead.
Njobvu, who describe his son as warm and friendly, said he last saw and spoke to Chama early on Friday and that he was in high spirits as he usually was.
“So you can imagine the shock when we were informed that he was burnt in his house. How? Why? How does something like that happen? Everything was happening so fast after that. We took him to the hospital in an unconscious state.” He said from the funeral house in Mapoloto.
According to Njobvu, all the information of what transpired that fateful Saturday morning was based on what Chama told them when he woke up from his state of unconsciousness in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward at UTH.
Njobvu said he gave the same statement at to the police from his hospital bed.
He said that Friday evening, Chama and his friends were out drinking at a local bar when a friend of theirs walked in, greeted them and proceeded to sit at a table where a group of men, also from their neighborhood in Mapoloto, were seated.
“When Chama saw that, he made a comment to his friend to stop socialising with that group as they would pollute his morals because of their sexual orientation. That seemed to have angered them and made the environment for Chama and his friends hostile,” he said.
Njobvu said Chama and his friends decided to leave the bar and walked t another drinking place at Lazymen’s in Chilenje South until the early hours of Saturday.
The other group reportedly followed them to Lazymen’s and is believed to have followed Chama as he walked home.
“At some point, however, he parted ways with his friend somewhere near his house and that’s where they attacked him. They came out of a car as he walked home and demanded to know why he called them gay. They started beating him,” Njobvu said.
He said Chama told the family that at some point he became unconscious and lost track of what was happening. When he woke up, he found them pouring what he thought was water on him.
Njobvu said it is not known whether he managed to run to his house or that the suspects dragged his body to his house then locked him inside, left and later came back with more petro and set the house on fire.
“He did not remember much after that. But based on his neighbors’ narrations, they heard screams and cries for help before the house went up in flames,” he said.
Credit: Zambia Daily Mail