THE arrest of five people in Muchinga Province for exhuming the body of a man hours after it was buried sounds strange indeed. It is difficult to imagine what the suspects wanted to do with the body.
It’s simply bizarre.
Five people have been arrested in Lavushimanda district for trespassing on a burial site, according to Muchinga Commissioner of Police Joel Njase.
Mr Njase said the five suspects allegedly trespassed on the grave of Antony Kasale who died last year on December 24 and was buried the following day, December 25, 2019 around 10:00 hours in Muwele Village in Chief Chiundaponde’s area.
For reasons known only to themselves six men sneaked into the grave yard and exhumed Mr Kasale’s body, which they carried away while still in the coffin around 22:00 hours.
Police have explained that a man only identified as Mr Bwale was coming from a drinking spree when he met six known people carrying a coffin from the graveyard heading to a different direction.
When he asked them where they were taking the body the six pleaded with him not to let the cat out of bag and promised to pay him a handsome bribe by village standards.
The men have been identified as Kapota Chikonde, Chipulu Tito, 55, Chibesa Kawele, Chate Mwanda, Mukanga Kamima and Ng’andwe Chisandi all from the same village.
Mr Bwale should count himself lucky that the suspects did not harm him. For fear of being exposed, and the fact that it was deep in the night, they would have brutally murdered him to shut his mouth.
In any case what the six villagers did is not only criminal but also wicked. How did the close relatives of the late Mr Kasale feel when they learned that the grave of their loved one had been desecrated and his corpse violated?
This wicked act must have exposed them to a new wave of grief, as if the loss of their relative were not enough pain.
We have heard of such stranger-than-fiction stories but we thought they were mere fabrications.
Whatever it is the five villagers wanted to do with Mr Kasale’s body they must explain to the police and his relatives.
For them to promise to pay Mr Bwale K8,000 to hush him up means they were doing it for money. Someone must have promised to pay them handsomely for the dastardly act.
They were aware of how other villagers would react if they discovered their wicked act. Had Mr Bwale raised alarm immediately the consequences would have been ghastly because such behaviour whips up negative emotions, especially in rural areas.
This smacks of witchcraft, which should not be condoned in a Christian nation like Zambia.
There is a need for traditional leaders – chiefs and headmen – to sensitise their subjects to desist from practicing witchcraft or weird rituals for whatever purpose.
Mr Njase explains that Mr Kasale’s body was later reburied using witchcraft and the following day, December 26, Mr Bwale was paid K800.
But unable to live with the horrendous find he reported the grave violators leading to the apprehension of five of the six suspects.
But the sixth, Kapota Chikonde, is still on the run and is believed to be the mastermind of the desecration of Mr Kasale’s grave and his remains.
Government should amend the law and introduce a more serious offence for people engaged in violating the final resting places and remains of the dead.
Trespassing on a burial site is too light and we believe it cannot serve as a deterrent for would-be offenders.
Africans attach a lot of emotion to death and such acts can really be hurting.
We need to respect the dead and their resting places. In fact in African culture such places are regarded sacred.

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