Kudakwashe Munsaka, the leader of Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), a controversial Zanu PF affiliate group, suffered a devastating loss last Tuesday when three of his family members were tragically struck by lightning during heavy rains that swept through the country.
FAZ, known for its alleged links to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), gained notoriety during the August 23 and 24 elections, where it was implicated in alleged vote rigging activities.
The torrential rains, accompanied by strong winds, wreaked havoc across the nation, causing significant damage to infrastructure and displacing several families.
In Binga, Matabeleland North, the tragedy struck Munsaka’s family when the rains battered the impoverished district, claiming three lives.
“It’s actually a tragedy that befell people of Binga in Chabwidi village under Chief Siabuwa, particularly my family,” Munsaka told The Standard yesterday.
“It was the eve of the 18th around 11pm.
“My aunt Belitha Munkuli (79) with her grandchildren; Meekness Munkuli (11) and Accept Bulemu (5) and a neighbour Rudo Muzamba were struck by lightning.
“They were sleeping in a thatched hut and lightning struck and burnt the hut.
“Neighbours tried to come and rescue them, but they failed as they had locked the door from inside. So this takes our death toll to four.”
In a separate incident last Monday, four children from the same family lost their lives after being struck by lightning while sleeping in Wadzenenga village under Chief Nyashanu in Buhera, Manicaland province. Although their mother, Ever Mutamba (31), survived, she sustained severe burns to one of her legs.
Zimbabwe is known for its high incidence of lightning strikes, with the majority of fatalities and injuries occurring in rural areas.
Munsaka expressed the shock and sorrow felt by the Binga community, stating, “It’s a situation that has shocked the community,” he said.
“We are in pain as a family and the mourners are still gathered. I bought the coffins and food for the mourners.”
FAZ, under Munsaka’s leadership, gained prominence before the August elections by assuming control of Zanu PF’s administrative structures, coordinating party campaigns, and managing the party’s primaries. FAZ was criticized by several election observers for alleged wrongdoing during the disputed elections, including intimidation of suspected opposition supporters.
The group has faced accusations of leading retributive campaigns against perceived opposition supporters, particularly in rural areas.