The trial of a man from Mangwe District, Matabeleland South Province who made headlines in 2020 by allegedly callously killing his elderly parents before setting ablaze their village mansion with a petrol bomb accusing them of bewitching him has started at the Bulawayo High Court.
In his defence he is claiming that his intention was to kill his father and the goblins that were in his bedroom in a bid to foil attempts to make him a zombie.
Lisani Marcellus Nleya (46) allegedly killed his father Nicholas Cain Nkala (83) and mother Margret Nleya (78) who were both retired teachers and prominent villagers in grisly circumstances on 1 September, 2020.
Nleya is claiming he even tested HIV-positive after having sex with a snake which he said his father had made it his wife.
Nleya said at 46 years old, he was not yet married and had 14 failed potential affairs in six years, and lost 32 jobs in 16 years because of his father’s wizardry. Nleya recently appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Christopher Dube-Banda facing one count of murder which he denied.
On the fateful day, Nleya armed himself with four petrol bombs and proceeded to his parents’ homestead where he placed them outside the window of their bedroom. He accused his father of being behind a series of misfortunes and untold suffering in his life which included death of his minor child, fall-out with his first wife and miscarriages by the second wife.
He told court that he discovered in 2005 through a prophet that his father was bewitching him for wealth creation. Through his defence lawyer Mr Simbarashe Innocent Madzivire of Tanaka Law Chambers, Nleya said his intention was to kill his father and the goblins that were allegedly in his parents’ bedroom.
“The accused person will state that he consulted several prophets who confirmed the same and that he was to be sacrificed and be made a zombie. The accused will also state that while he was staying at his parents’ place or residence, he would see a big snake in his sleep.
Further, the accused person will state that he lost his first child Samantha Nleya when she was only four months old and upon consultation, he learnt that his father was behind the death,” he said in his defence outline.
The court was told that the mother of the little child left Nleya soon after the death of their daughter in fear of her life in 2006.
Nleya married another woman the following year and she had two miscarriages which upon consulting prophets were attributed to his father. The accused told the court that he cheated death on numerous occasions, surviving car accidents, fire in the house, gun shots and attack by people while in South Africa. In each case he would consult a prophet who pointed at his father.
“The accused person will also state that he always confronted his father to stop wizardry but he would profess ignorance. He tried several times to engage his parents to visit prophets or inyanga for cleansing but they vehemently refused. The accused will further state that his life was of misery and poverty yet his parents were filthy rich, and the wealth was gathered through witchcraft which put his life in danger,” he said.
Nleya also claimed that the fact that at his age he was still single worried him. He was also not happy that his father refused to build a four-bedroomed house for him in 2010.
“I lost more than R100 000 in 2015 and 2016 trying to construct a house. I tested HIV-positive because he would send his snake to come to have sex with me. He got the snake from Chipinge and even called the snake by my name,” said Nleya.
He claimed that in February 2019 a self-proclaimed prophet removed a black mamba that his father used to prevent him from getting married. He said that is when in February 2020 he bought a machete with the intention of killing him but stopped on the advice of a Binga prophet that prayed for him.
Nleya said his life turned into misery when he returned to South Africa and that is when he thought of coming home to kill his parents.
He allegedly hit one of the windows and gained entry into the house and proceeded to his parents’ bedroom. He was wearing a face mask pretending to be a robber and demanded cash from his parents. The court heard that Nleya disguised himself to scare his parents from the bedroom because he did not want his mother harmed. It was the State’s case that Nleya threw three petrol bombs he had placed on the window because he was convinced that his mother had run out of the bedroom.
“The accused person will state that he never intended to kill both his parents,” argues his lawyer. He denied using any axe, kitchen knife nor machete against his parents.
Nleya allegedly brought the petrol bombs and a bicycle from South Africa. He boarded a car with his bicycle and disembarked in Plumtree Town where he rode to Empandeni, and after committing the murder, Nleya cycled towards Bulawayo but was picked up by a truck in Figtree.
He sold the bicycle for US$40 which he used as bus fare back to South Africa, but was arrested at a prophet’s house after sneaking back into the country. Mr Qiniso Ndebele, a domestic worker at the Nleya homestead, testified in court.
The State applied to amend the charges to include a second count of murder following concerns by the judge who questioned why the accused was charged on one count. The defence counsel did not oppose the application and addition of a second murder count. Trial continues on 10 January next year.-Sunday News