Renowned black empowerment activist Sonny Chasi (72) has been arrested for allegedly killing his wife.
Chasi reportedly found his wife, Dorcas Chasi (41) six months pregnant when he was released from prison about three weeks ago. He had been serving a seven-year jail term for selling his house in Waterford to two different people.
Chasi allegedly made a false report to the police that they had been attacked by robbers who severely assaulted his wife on Saturday, resulting in her dying in hospital the following day. Sources close to the couple said when Chasi was released from prison, after serving three years and eight months, he found his wife having moved from Waterford and was staying with relatives in Nkulumane.
"He went to Nkulumane and was devastated to find her six months pregnant. He was involved in a physical confrontation with her over the issue and went about telling people that he was very pained by her infidelity," said a relative.
One of his friends said Chasi went to Bulawayo Central Police Station covered in blood on Saturday and reported that he had been mugged and could not locate his wife.
"In the days leading to the incident, he seemed to have reconciled with his wife. He went to the police station at about 10pm and told them he had been attacked by four robbers while walking with his wife at the intersection of 5th Street and Lawley Road, near 12th Avenue," said the friend.
The friend said although Chasi's clothes had blood, he had no bruises on him.
"He told the police that the robbers pounced on his wife when she tried to intervene when they were beating him up. Police went to the scene and found his wife unconscious. She had bruises all over her body and her forehead was swollen. She died in the Intensive Care Unit at the United Bulawayo Hospitals on Sunday," said the friend.
He said Chasi seemed disoriented when he told them the story on Sunday.
"We all felt sorry for him and thought fate was being unkind to him. We even thought he would commit suicide because misfortune seemed to be piling on him," the friend said.
A source close to the investigations said police got suspicious when they found out that Chasi had found his wife pregnant when he came out of prison, prompting them to start treating him as a suspect.
Contacted for comment, acting national Criminal Investigations Department (CID) spokesperson Detective Sergeant Hlahlane Ndlela confirmed that Chasi was in police custody.
"I can confirm that we are handling a murder case in which the suspect, Sonny Chasi of Bulawayo allegedly killed his wife, Dorcas Chasi. The suspect may appear in court tomorrow," said Det Sgt Ndlela.
Chasi, a former member of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic and Miners Action Group, is famous for stopping numerous auctions in which banks or big companies were selling property belonging to economically disadvantaged people.
He was once the principal officer of the Bulawayo Chapter of the Affirmative Action Group and wanted to run for the post of Mayor for Bulawayo in 2000. At one time, he was vice-president of the Athletics Association of Zimbabwe. In 1982, he distinguished himself in the sport by becoming the first qualified black race starter in the country.