A teacher from Tsholotsho allegedly brutally beat up his live in girlfriend for three days resulting in her death and then he spent a night in bed with the corpse quenching his thirst.
Villagers effected a citizen’s arrest on Obert Ncube, 43, on Monday at around 4PM at Dadajena Village after he had been on the run for 12 hours. The village is about 10 kilometres from Bemba Primary School where he allegedly killed Sarudzai Mutuma, 35, who was a teacher for more than seven years at the school.
Sources said Ncube went haywire when he suspected his girlfriend was having an affair. Tsholotsho District Education Officer Kelvin Mathe yesterday confirmed Ncube was in police custody.
A villager, Mavis Nkomazana, told The Chronicle that Ncube and Mutuma had been living together at the school since 2008. Ncube, she said, started beating up his girlfriend on Friday. “He sjamboked her for a prolonged period on Friday morning and other teachers were afraid to intervene,” said Nkomazana.
She told of how Ncube left an injured Mutuma locked in her room while he went to Tsholotsho centre about 43km away – to submit Grade Seven examination answer scripts. Ncube allegedly returned on Friday afternoon, opened the door and continued the assault.
“He later took a break and went to sit at the shops,” said the witness. “He returned and continued assaulting her until one of the younger female teachers went in through a window and took away the weapon,” said Nkomazana.
She said throughout the hours of sustained assault, Mutuma cried out only once, probably in a bid to conceal to other teachers that her boyfriend was beating her up. Nkomazana described Mutuma as a reserved person who was unlikely to have an affair. “Ncube was just an insecure man who was obsessed with Mutuma.
He’s the one who had multiple affairs,” she said. Another witness, Grey Ndlovu, said Ncube took an axe handle and pummelled Mutuma through the night. He said other teachers only heard the heavy thuds as Ncube assaulted his girlfriend. “There were no voices. Maybe Ncube was strangling her at the same time,” said Ndlovu.
He said the beating continued the next day with Ncube taking occasional breathers to visit the shops or stand outside the school gates. “Still no one intervened,” Ndlovu said. He explained that the school has two male teachers — Ncube and the headmaster Ezekiel Moyo — and four female teachers.
Villagers said an agitated Ncube, would just sit at the shops, not talking to anyone. The headmaster, they told The Chronicle, received a message that Mutuma’s aunt had died. “He told Ncube during one of his breaks and he said he would relay the message to Mutuma.
Instead, he got home and intensified the assault. They said on Sunday at around 9PM, Ncube unlocked the door, dragged Mutuma outside and beat her up at the school gate.
“I suspect that’s when she died. Ncube later dragged her back into the house and closed the door,” said Ndlovu. He said Ncube is suspected to have put the body onto the bed and spent the night with it, before fleeing the next morning.
He allegedly phoned a female teacher and told her that Mutuma wanted to see her in her room, before he left.
Villagers said they began fearing the worst when they found the door locked. They told of the horror of finding Mutuma’s body after they broke down the door. “Mutuma was dead. A nurse from a nearby clinic said she had been dead for some hours,” said a villager.
The headmaster, villagers said, called the police. A police source said Ncube for sometime evaded arrest. “Detectives would call him on his cellphone and he would claim to be at a certain spot.
They would drive there and find the spot deserted. He did that three times, sending them on a wild goose chase over a radius of about 15km,” said the source. Villagers formed search parties and a group at Dadajena finally apprehended Ncube and handed him over to the police, witnesses said.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Sipiwe Makonese could not be reached for comment.