Following his disappearance from St Mathias Tsonzo High School on December 6 last year and the discovery of human remains at the school last week, Livingstone Sunhwa’s mother believes her son was murdered and has already prepared for the worst.
Human remains that are suspected to be Livingstone’s were discovered last Friday in a thicket that is a stone’s throw from the school.
The homicide wing of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has taken over the investigations and is in the process of doing Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests to establish whether the human remains are Livingstone’s.
It is understood that the police collected samples from Livingstone’s mother on Sunday.
Ms Tadya and the rest of her family are finding it difficult to make sense of the latest developments, especially considering that the school authorities who were responsible for her son have not reached out to empathise with them ever since Livingstone’s disappearance.
While the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has released a statement exuding regret, and suspended the headmaster, Mr Maxwell Sambona, to pave way for investigations, the mother feels that the school and the institution’s responsible authority, the Anglican Church, could have done better in handling the case.
As the discovery of the human remains reverberated across the country, The Manica Post caught up with Ms Tadya.
Ms Tadya revealed that the body parts were strewn all over the place, with some of them missing.
She said considering that police investigations have dragged on for close to seven months, she was wondering how much time it would take to finalise the matter.
Ms Tadya called for those behind her son’s disappearance to be brought to book.
She said her grief journey, if any, will not truly begin until the conclusion of the matter.
The fact that the matter is all over social and mainstream media is taking away the privacy that the family values.
The woman said she single-handedly laboured to raise Livingstone and his sister, Pride, following the death of their father in 2010.
She shared the searing pain of losing a child, and said she would live with it for the rest of her life if the DNA tests confirm that the remains are Livingstone’s.
“I am never ever going to recover from this. I will live with it every day. I will carry the pain every single day of my life,” she said.
“No mother and sister – no one – deserves to be presented with so much pain. It is devastating.
“It is like a part of my soul has been removed. It is painful for a parent to lose a child. Only affected parents can relate to what I am going through. The fact that he disappeared at the hands of those who were supposed to take care of him makes the pain worse,” she said.
Ms Tadya is convinced that her son was murdered and wants his soul to torment the killers until they lose their marbles and confess publicly.
“Whoever is responsible was insensitive and should have considered the life of my child. I feel a lot of pain and emotional trauma far beyond imagination. His spirit should fight back and torment his killers. Fight your killers my son. Never give them rest. Fight until they own up and disclose the whole truth about what happened to you.
“No amount of appeasement can bring back my son. Money does not buy life. I just want them to suffer the same ordeal my son went through. What can they do to replace Livingstone? Where will I find him?” she cried.
“When you lose a husband, you become a widow; when you lose your parents, you become an orphan; but when you lose your child, there is not even a term for it. That is how awful it is. I am barely existing. I have spent every waking moment trying not to think about what happened to my son.
“I never imagined picking his scattered bones, I had hoped to find him alive. I lost my breath when I saw his shoes, belt and those remains. Our family is failing to accept this.
“Since the discovery of the human remains, nobody from the school or the church has reached out to us. Nobody has come just to empathise with us or just to say they are sorry – just a sorry.
“On Sunday, we went to the school with the intention of proceeding to the scene where the remains were discovered. The headmaster was present but he refused to come out and meet us.
“Till this day (Tuesday), I have not received any message from either the school or the church despite the fact that my son disappeared from their institution. Are they saying Livingstone never existed at St Mathias Tsonzo?” she queried.
Ms Tadya said for the past few months, she had remained hopeful that she would see Livingstone alive and continued buying clothes for him.
“I had brought him a track bottom and put some winter clothes on lay-bye in South Africa. Some clothes I brought for him in December are still there. I never imagined him dead.
“The last time I spoke to him was on December 3 when he texted me around 4am saying, ‘Morning mama, I am going for study’.
“Those were his last words to me. I had high expectations for Livingstone. He wanted to become an Economist. He had a bright future and his life was cut short. He liked studying and was a humble and respectful person,” she said.
If the DNA tests turn out negative, Ms Tadya said the search party will continue until Livingstone is located.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has since suspended St Mathias High School headmaster, Mr Sambona, to pave way for investigations.
Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Richard Gabaza confirmed the development.
“We have suspended the headmaster. As a ministry, we are equally concerned and we really want to get to the bottom of the matter by looking into a number of grey areas. The reason for the suspension of the headmaster is to pave way for the smooth flow of investigations,” he said.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Mr Taungana Ndoro, said they empathize with the family.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education empathizes with the family, relatives and friends of Livingstone Sunhwa who went missing from St MathiasTsonzo High School on December 6, 2021.
“The ministry had started investigations on the whereabouts of the missing student but had not made any credible leads until June 24 when human remains were discovered close to St Mathias Tsonzo High School.
“The ministry remains committed to the safety, health and protection of all students, teachers and staff members at all schools and now awaits the law to take its course. Due process and diligence will be done to establish the facts surrounding the disappearance of Livingstone Sunhwa under the custody of St Mathias Tsonzo High School.
“The ministry expresses regret to the family and the nation for these unfortunate circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Livingstone Sunhwa,” said Mr Ndoro.
The Anglican Church, on the other hand, said they want the truth and all those implicated in Livingstone’s disappearance to face the music.
“As the responsible authority, we demand the truth and thorough investigations should be done. We want justice to prevail,” said the Anglican Diocese registrar and spokesperson, Mr Ashel Mutungura.
Giving an update on the case, Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Nobert Muzondo said Livingstone’s case was referred to CID Nyanga on June 20.
On June 23, CID details from Nyanga proceeded to the school to make inquiries with the school authorities and the surrounding community.
It is alleged that Mr Edmond Nyamombe (58), as senior teacher, gave an insight on Livingston’s arrest and his subsequent release from police custody.
“Information was received from Ms Linety Chapungu (28) of Samushonga Village, under Chief Mutasa, who indicated that sometime in December 2021, she saw a pair of black school shoes and a belt along Mashorani Stream as she was looking for firewood. The stream is about a kilometer from the school.
“On June 24, a follow-up on the given information was made. Ms Chapungu led detectives to Mashorani Stream where upon arrival, startling observations were made. A pair of Size Six black school shoes with no laces and a white vest inserted in one of the shoes were discovered.
“A piece of navy blue cloth and a shoelace were found hanging from a tree about 20m from the pair of shoes. Another shoelace and some suspected human hair were seen under the tree which is about four meters in height.
“Suspected human bones and a skull were found scattered about four meters from the tree on which the cloth was found hanging. A piece of navy blue cloth with a knot was found among the bones.
“The pair of school shoes, belt and vest were positively identified by Tapiwa Kabaya (17), a Form Five student at the school, who was a classmate to the missing person and shared the same dormitory,” said Inspector Muzondo.
The suspected human remains were conveyed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.