A 75-year-old woman of Lusaka’s Matero compound was yesterday shocked to learn that her 80-year-old husband had died three days earlier.
Martha Kombe explained to journalists shortly after discovering Samson Mwamba’s decomposed body that the two were on separation but had continued living in the same house; different rooms.
“I am usually not home, I go for some piece work while he remains at home. When he is here, he leaves early in the morning to go to drink beer and he comes at night, just like that. So on Friday, he found us on the verandah where we sat and the children received the charcoal he came with because he likes cooking alone and he stays alone in the bedroom, he chased me from there a long time ago, I also sleep in another room. So he put charcoal on the brazier with a lot of diesel and he removed it outside until the smoke reduced. Then he took it inside and started cooking around 20:00 hours,” Kombe narrated.
“So that’s how we slept, on Saturday early in the morning, I went to the sewage and when I knocked off, I asked the children that ‘has your grandfather gone out’? And the youngest told me that he was told to tell anyone looking for his grandfather that he had gone to visit someone who was sick. So that’s how I proceeded to cook for the children that evening.”
She said she discovered Mwamba was dead on Sunday when she noticed something smelling in his room.
“Today, I wanted to go to the farm so after doing some chores outside, I came into the house wanting to sweep and that’s when I told the children that something was smelling in their grandfathers room. I asked them to open it so that I could remove what was smelling but we discovered that his keys were still inside. So I got alarmed and we went outside to the window to check. I tried to get one of the children to enter but they couldn’t fit through the space. After we managed to open the window wide enough, because I can’t see well from afar, I asked the child to check for me if there was someone on the bed and he told me that he was on the bed. But at that point I got alarmed. So we went to break down the door and discovered that indeed, he had died,” said Kombe.
“Three days has passed without me seeing him. I don’t know if maybe he got chocked with the brazier or what, I cannot know because he likes cooking on his own. There was a cooker in his room.”
Kombe said police officers told her to organise transport and a coffin to bury him because he couldn’t be taken to a mortuary in his state.
She however complained that she had no capacity to buy a coffin or hire a vehicle.
But neighbours talked to said they had not seen Mwamba for a long time and it was possible that he had been dead for almost a week.
They wondered how two people could live in the same house without knowing each others’ whereabouts.