Nyemudzai kakore Herald Correspondent
A member of the African Apostolic Church (Mwazha) died, while several others were injured after being struck by lightning at a shrine in Chitungwiza on Monday. The incident occurred while members of the church were attending a prayer session at an open space in Nyatsime during the evening.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident and urged members of the public to take precautionary measures during this rainy season.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has noted with concern the recent cases of fatalities as a result of lightning occurring around the country,” she said. “The most recent cases occurred in Chitungwiza on January 25, 2016 at around 1830hrs.
“Following a heavy downpour, the congregation was struck by lightning. Five people sustained burns and were ferried to Chitungwiza Central Hospital where one was pronounced dead on arrival. The other three are in a stable condition, while the other one is critical.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said people should avoid seeking shelter under tall trees, avoid contact with electrical gadgets and avoid being a sole target at an open space when it is raining.
The latest incident comes after a woman from Bulilima in Matabeleland South died and a 33-year-old man was severely burnt when three homesteads in the area were struck by lightning in January.
Gugulethu Dube (23), failed to escape from a burning hut and was burnt beyond recognition, while Bigboy Tshuma, who was in a separate hut at the same homestead, was severely burnt in an incident that occurred at Dupute Village in Makhulela Ward.
Eight people also died last year after they were struck by lightning in separate incidents in two days.
Meanwhile, Snr Asst Comm Charamba has warned the public from travelling at night as this increases road accidents and criminal activities, especially if there is a breakdown.
“Motorists travelling at night are susceptible to fatigue and falling asleep while driving resulting in road accidents,” she said.
“Criminals also take advantage of the night to rob motorists and commuters alike making with their loot under the cover of darkness,” she added.