BROTHER of the late Dr Tasila Tembo, Lonjezo, has told the Lusaka High Court his sister was found partially buried at a traditional burial site in Nanking Army Training Centre in Mikango Barracks, six days after her lover lieutenant Nigel Mwaba drove off with her and left him at a gas station in Ibex Hill around midnight.
Lonjezo disclosed that a few days before her death, Dr Tasila always asked him not to leave her alone whenever Lt Mwaba visited her at her home in Kasama because he became possessive of her.
In this matter, Lt Mwaba, an army officer, is accused of murdering Dr Tembo between October 24 and 26, 2020 after she decided to end their relationship.
Tembo told Judge Wilfred Muma that on October 23, 2020, around 23:00 hours, when they reached at Dr Tasila’s house in Meanwood, she asked him to accompany her and Lt Mwaba to pick up the latter’s vehicle which was parked at Total Service Station in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill.
He said they proceeded to the gas station using his sister’s motor vehicle, an Isuzu registration no. BAG 1986, which was being driven by Lt Mwaba.
Tembo narrated that his sister was dozing on their way to the gas station and when they arrived, Lt Mwaba asked him to buy him a six pack of castle lite from the supermarket to which he complied and that when he returned to the vehicle, Lt Mwaba asked him to go back into the supermarket and buy him two more bottles of liquor and bread.
“When I came out of the supermarket, I found that Nigel had driven off with my sister. After 30 minutes, Nigel called me and said they were going to pick up the car at a nearby school. After 30 minutes, he called me and said they were on their way back,” Tembo narrated.
“I waited for the two at the service station up to 03:00 AM and I called my friend, Zebulon Chola, to pick me and take me to my home in Avondale because I was tired of waiting and Tasila and I were traveling to Kasama around 05:00 hours on Independence Day. I told Nigel to pick me up from my home on their way back and he told me they were going to Mikango, that’s where the car was.”
Lonjezo said he called Dr Tasila around 05:00 hours on October 24 to remind her about the trip but the phone was off.
He said he tried to call her after two hours but he could not get through as Lt Mwaba’s phone was equally off and he was forced to call the maid to ask her if his sister and her lover were at home, but she told him that the pair did not return since the previous night.
“In the afternoon, I decided to report the matter at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe police station but I was told I can only report a missing person after 48 hours. My cousins and I decided to report the matter at Zambia Army headquarters at Arakan Barracks and we were assured that they would institute investigations,” Tembo said.
Tembo told judge Muma that the following week on a Wednesday, his nephew, Katongo Mandona, informed him that Dr Tasila’s corpse was discovered in Mikango Barracks and he decided to inform the police at Woodlands Police Station.
“At the police station, I was shown some pictures which were taken by the police at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Police Station and I identified Tasila by her clothes. She wore an orange T-shirt and a blue jean. When we went to Mikango Barracks, we found her body wrapped in a black plastic and she was partially buried at Nanking graveyard,” Tembo said.
He told court the at the time she was discovered, Lt Mwaba had gone missing with Dr Tasila’s vehicle.
“Before she died, she looked drained (distressed) like she had a lot on her mind. She was always jovial but in her last days, her smile faded away. I heard her complain that Nigel was insecure and jealous and when she was with me he would always ask who she was with,” Tembo disclosed.
“Nigel once came to Kasama without informing Tasila. At that time she was working from Mbala so she decided to call the maid and ask her to take her two youngest children to a lodge because she did not know what Nigel would do. In the evening when she returned home, she avoided Nigel and went to her room. I remained chatting with him in the living room and he later told me that he was going to sleep at the barracks and he left with Tasila’s car.”
He added that the following day, Lt Mwaba tried to have a conversation with Dr Tasila but she did not want to talk to him until they returned to Lusaka.
“At one point when they differed, she asked me not to leave her alone with Nigel. I have known Nigel as my sister’s boyfriend since 2018. He used to stay at Tasila’s house in Meanwood,” said Tembo.
Mercy Hemboko, who was a living in maid at Dr Tasila’s house, narrated that in 2018, the latter introduced Lt Mwaba to her and other employees as her boyfriend and they were cohabiting.
She said in 2020, Dr Tasila was transferred to Kasama and she took along two of her youngest children, among the four children she is survived by.
The 38-year-old said Dr Tasila was attending a workshop in Lusaka before she met her fate.
Hemboko told judge Muma that on October 23, last year, Lt Mwaba had gone to Dr Tasila’s house with a taxi around 21:00.
She recounted that she asked Lt Mwaba if she could serve him some food but he refused, suggesting that he would wait for Dr Tasila so that they could eat together.
She said later, Dr Tasila returned home in the company of her brother, Lonjezo, and went straight to her bedroom to drop her hand bag.
Hemboko told court that few minutes later, Dr Tasila ordered her to open the gate and she left the house in the company of Lt Mwaba and her brother.
“On Saturday morning, Lonjezo called me asking if Dr Tasila was awake, but I told him she did not return home. Later around 09:00, Lt Mwaba called me and ordered me to warm water for bathing but the couple never returned home to have their warm bath,” narrated Hemboko.
“I last saw Lt Mwaba clad in a khaki chino short and blue sneakers and Dr Tasila wore an orange T-shirt and a blue jeans. I later heard that she had died.”
Sicheleka Lukele, a crime scene officer recounted that on October 27, 2020, whilst on duty at Woodlands Police Station, he was assigned to attend to a crime scene at Nankingi burial site in Mikango area off Leopards Hill Road.
This followed a report by residents who discovered a dead body in the area.
Lukele said he visited the crime scene at 12:00 in the company of two other female officers, constable Mundenda and Constable Mbewe, and he discovered Dr Tasila’s body whose identity was unknown at the time.
“I conducted some investigations; filmed the crime scene which was secured and I was convinced that I was attending to a homicide. She was clad in an orange T-shirt and she had a wound on the belly. The body was in a decomposed state and it was covered with fresh tree branches and some dry leaves. I notified the pathologist,” said Lukele.
And Brian Ziyakaka, an ICT technician at National Road Fund Agency based at Ridgeway head office, said the tolling system revealed that Dr Tasila’s motor vehicle passed through the Shimabala toll plaza in Kafue on October 24, 2020 in the fourth lane around 07:02 and headed south.
Trial continues today.