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An inquest into the explosion that rocked Zengeza suburb in Chitungwiza in January last year has revealed that the traditional healer Speakmore Mandere, better known as Sekuru Shumba, was dabbling in mercury deals.

The Chitungwiza blast occurred on January 21 last year and killed five people. It rocked Ndororo Street and caused massive damage to houses within a kilometre radius. Many believed that a goblin-destroying ceremony had gone terribly wrong resulting in the mysterious creature retaliating and killing five people in the process.

Supporting these claims were reports that a couple had allegedly acquired a goblin from South Africa for money spinning and wealth creation purposes. There were also reports that the goblin had begun demanding human flesh - an allegation which, according to sources who spoke to My Zimbabwe News last year, forced the businessman to sought the services of Sekuru Shumba in a bid to trick the goblin to 'sleep' and 'kill' it.

However, Svodai Kamudzeya, the wife of a businessman killed while consulting the traditional healer, testified before Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe that Mandere asked her on the day of the explosion to connect him with mercury buyers .

"My husband and I had gone to Mandere's residence for a ritual to resuscitate our kombi business," she said. "While at the house, he inquired from me if I knew people who trade in mercury.

"I told him I knew one Alex Shamhu, a potential buyer, before giving him his contacts. Sekuru Shumba indicated to me that he knew someone who was in possession of mercury."

Kamudzeya said she did not know the source of the explosion but was shocked to discover that the house had completely collapsed, with human body parts strewn all over the place.

"We went to fetch water with Mandere's wife and when we returned, I was dancing to Mbira music with my niece, Virginia Rashirai when I heard loud noises," she told the inquest.

"I did not get time to see what had happened but the walls of the house had collapsed and there was human flesh in the room where Mandere, my husband and other people were conducting rituals."

Kamudzeya said she also noticed that her husband was lying dead at a house next door before emergency rescue teams arrived at the scene.

Another witness Virginia Rashirai, who was a regular at Mandere's residence and a niece to the Kamudzeyas, said there was an unidentified man who arrived at the house moments before the blast.

"I had gone to Mandere's residence after Kamudzeya had called me to keep her company," she said. "When I arrived, I greeted Mandere, who was already possessed and other people who were in the house.

"I remained at the house when Kamudzeya and Mandere's wife went to fetch water. While I was sweeping outside, I noticed a man, who was dressed in black and white enter the house. I did not get the chance to know this person."

Rashirai said she was not aware of the causes of the explosion and sustained injuries on her right leg and arm.

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