Chief Negomo, real name Luscious Chitsinde, is reported to have fined Joyce Maodzwa, a widow whose son had committed suicide one cow. The cow was reparation for the death of her son, as suicide is considered a bad omen in the local culture.Chief Negomo sent two of his messengers to collect the cow, and they arrived while the deceased was still hanging in the tree and demanded the cow. The messengers showed up with a cattle buyer. This did no go down with the mourners who in turn beat them up. However, the chief sent them back to get the cow again after the funeral, but the irate mourners rebuffed them and gave them another hiding.
Local legislator and former deputy minister of justice Fortune Chasi said:
I was deeply distressed by this development. I want to assume, in favour of the chief, that it happened without his knowledge. It’s hard to believe though.
That the traditional justice system should be so efficient it literally swings into action while the deceased is still hanging on the tree just serves to dramatise the vulnerability of women. Mai Maodzwa is widow so anything can be done to her.
But I will, as MP, defend her. I will not allow this and I have made this point explicitly clear to the chief and the community. Years back we had a Tsikamutanda (traditional healers) unleashed on the people and cattle were sold for a song at the chief’s command. Some were sold for as little as $80. That era is gone
…I understand that under Shona culture, if anyone was to pay for such incident, the cow would be slaughtered and the meat be consumed by mourners, not that it would he sold for the benefit of the chief.
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