A MOUND of sandy soil with a bunch of artificial flowers atop is what marks the grave of Gogo Eve Siwela (73) of Lower Gweru.
On March 10, she was shot dead by two unknown men in a rare killing that has terrified the community as police investigations drag on. The killers are still at large.
While shooting victims are normally rich men or women, whose killings will be at the instance of a robbery and with their send-offs marked by an array of flowers and speeches, this was not the case with Gogo Siwela.
Hers is a “poor” countryside shallow grave that completes a sorry picture of the poverty that shrouds her petite homestead, comprising a one-roomed bedroom and a pole and dagga kitchen hut from where she was brazenly shot twice in the head.
The circumstances and motive behind the shooting of the elderly woman, who left behind two orphaned grandchildren aged 12 and 14 years, remains a mystery with the community still searching for answers.
Police are on the case 24/7 but there is still no breakthrough. The police have been revisiting the crime scene day in day out to gather more details where the two terrified minors remain chief witnesses to the gory incident.
The 12-year-old minor, who is a girl, has been taken to Gwanda by a distant relative who attended Gogo Siwela’s burial. Her sister is wandering around the village, reportedly still traumatised, as the children have not undergone trauma counselling.
Chronicle caught up with a relative who is still hanging around the homestead to attend to mourners and visitors still trickling in to enquire on the incident.
The relative was not aware of the teen’s whereabouts. “She is still traumatised, she witnessed the incident, her grandmother being shot in broad daylight and dying on the spot. What is even more heartbreaking is that after the incident, Gogo’s body spent almost five hours in a pool of blood as police waited for a van from Gweru to attend the scene.
“The incident occurred at around 9am and the police only removed Gogo from the scene at around 3pm and this traumatised the girl so much that she now wanders aimlessly. She rarely spends a day at home,” said the relative, Mr Pasca Mutero.
He said the other minor was no longer around after she was lucky to be taken by a distant relative who attended the burial.
“It’s a desperate situation for the girl. The other one was lucky as she is now in Gwanda. There is a relative who decided to take her because they have no one to look after them now. The one still around is in Form One at the nearby Lower Gweru Mission High so am a still around still pondering how to help her out,” he said.
Mr Mutero said he was a son to the late Gogo Siwela’s sister but was a poor villager who has no idea how to adopt the orphans left behind by Gogo Siwela.
“Even the local traditional leader is aware of the challenge which is staring at us so he promised to look for well-wishers to help in the upkeep of the girls,” he said. A neighbour, Mrs Jane Takavada, said the ruthless killing had scared everyone in the area.
“We are still in a shock, we are still wondering what the motive was, we are still waiting for police investigations and we hope they will come up with an answer to this mystery. She was one of the oldest women in the village, where everyone would go and tap some wisdom from, we are devastated,” she said.
Mrs Takavada, who is a plot holder at Insukamini Irrigation Scheme, said she would come to Gogo Siwela to ask for her two girls to assist her in the fields.
“I would in turn help Gogo with money to pay the girls’ fees and buy some books and now that she is gone, no one knows what will become of these two girls,” she said.
Chief Bunina, the local traditional leader, said the shooting had “turned the community upside-down” and could have destroyed the lives of the two girls. “It’s a shock which has continued to boggle the minds of many.
“We just hope the police will come up with something so that we have closure. Everyone is confused. We are still looking for answers, we know a person is shot when robbers are looking for cash or some valuables, but on this one, a poor villager of that age being shot from nowhere is something else, we are dumbfounded,” he said.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said investigations were still underway. Chronicle