Chiredzi medical doctor William Phiri had a history of inexplicable fits of rage and complained of “unwellness” prior to allegedly killing his two children and injuring two others and himself on Sunday, his wife suggested yesterday.
The wife, Ms Loice Chakauya, however, feels her husband needed mental examination as his actions on the fateful Sunday could not be matched with the love he displayed for his children.
“My husband loved his kids and most of the things being said are untrue. He must have been under some evil spell to do what he did, but I still insist that he be mentally examined because maybe his thinking might have been disturbed by too much intelligence. He needs help.
“He is now able to talk and I don’t have a problem with him. We last spoke yesterday (Wednesday) but today (Thursday) we have not yet spoken. He is very disturbed and sorry about what he did, which shows that something was wrong with him on the fateful day.”
Ms Chakauya said to reinforce her belief that something compelled her husband to unleash terror on Sunday, he had actually complained of being unwell earlier on.
“We stayed peacefully as a family with our children and there was no problem. Before what eventually happened on Sunday, we were at home and he was complaining of being unwell without being specific,” said Ms Chakauya, without elaborating further.
“I insist he that needs assistance and should be mentally examined to establish the state of his mind. He sometimes got into sporadic bouts of mental fits and this is what must be examined not to arrest him like what they are doing because he is a man who loves his children and is funding their treatment from his hospital bed in Chiredzi,” said Ms Chakauya.
Ms Chakauya said something could have gone wrong with her husband because he loved his children so much that he would not have done what he did to them on Sunday evening at their Mkwasine farm home.
Phiri’s wife, who is looking after her son Themba (4) at Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare, where he is hospitalised after sustaining severe injuries in the attack, said she was encouraged by the progress towards recovery of her two children.
Her eldest child Ropafadzo (6) is admitted at Chiredzi District Hospital.
“Their (children) condition is improving and they are recovering. I am hopeful that they will pull through. Ropafadzo is okay and the other one (Themba) is getting better I am with him in hospital in Harare,” said Ms Chakauya.
Phiri, she said, loved his children dearly and could not have harmed them, insisted Ms Chakauya. And she strongly believes that if it was not a mental condition then it could have been the work of evil spirits.
“I have since forgiven him because I know he loved his kids. He was a loving father and his kids were close to his heart such that he could never have harmed them in any way.”
Ms Chakauya had no kind words for social media trolls whom she accused of spreading falsehoods about what actually happened.
Asked on the burial arrangements for her deceased children Princess (3 years) and Victor (seven months), Ms Chakauya said their remains would not be interred just yet.
“We first have to deal with seeking treatment for the two who are injured. We cannot talk of burial now when the other two are still battling for their lives. We first have to make sure their condition improves before we can talk of burial of those who are now late.”
Ms Chakauya declined to reveal further details about her marriage to Phiri, who has been remanded in custody on two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
He initially appeared before Chiredzi magistrate Mr Simbarashe Gundani in his hospital bed on Tuesday.
Mr Gundani remanded him to February 9 and advised him to seek bail at the High Court. Mr Ronald Kwangware appeared for the State.
Phiri allegedly killed his two children and seriously injured two others before locking himself and the four children in his house and torching it. Neighbours forced open one of the doors to rescue him and his children, two of whom had already died.
After being rescued by neighbours, Phiri, a medical practitioner and sugar cane farmer in Mkwasine, allegedly wandered into a nearby cane field while naked where he tried to shoot himself with his firearm, but it jammed and he stabbed himself instead, but not fatally.