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When fake news hurts

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When fake news hurts
WRONGFULY ACCUSED: Chavaphi

Tutume alleged ritual murder suspects set the record straight

In the era where mainstream media is grappling with the reality of fake news, finding fact from fiction has become an even more delicate exercise.

In the past week, allegations of the murder of a Zimbabwean man in Tutume spread like veld fire in the village and on social media.

Two well known men in the village reportedly killed and skinned a Zimbabwean for muti purposes.

Former Tutume Brigades Coordinator Bigbo Chavaphi and retired former Tutume Council employee, Thoro Mbaakanyi were fingered in the unusual ritual murder.

The Voice took a short trip to Tutume in search of the two men whose names were being peddled by citizen ‘journalists’.

Chavaphi who runs a vegetable farm in the outskirts of the village and supplies all vendors in Tutume did not take kindly to the news.

Chavaphi said the allegations doing rounds in the village were upsetting.

“I don’t know how to explain this. My family is worried sick about this baseless rumours peddled by people who don’t have guts to come out into the open,” Chavaphi told The Voice.

The respected Tutume businessman said he received calls from family members who also learnt through social media that he was detained by the police after being caught red handed with a corpse.

“It is a deliberate ploy from my detractors to tarnish my name,” he said.

The Brigade administrator turned farmer said he has worked so hard for everything he owns and would not take kindly to his name being dragged in the mud by individuals hiding behind pseudo names on Facebook.

“It’d be most unfortunate for me to be involved in something like that when I’ve come this far through hard work,” he said.

The irate senior citizen said he suspects some political opponents who got wind that he intended to run for political office to be behind the malicious rumour.

“I’ve had it. I won’t even run for political office if this is what it brings,” he said.

He added that his name might have been also mentioned because the two Zimbabwean men who allegedly went missing passed at his farm in the company of one Thoro Mbaakanyi.

“That was the last time I saw them. I also heard that the two are alive and well in Selolwane,” he said.

The Voice also tracked down Mbaakanyi to his yard in Tutume. The visibly worried retired council labourer confirmed that he too heard the rumours.

“I’m ashamed to even walk in the village because it looks like everyone is talking about me,” he said.

Midway through the interview two gentlemen arrive in the yard and immediately tell Mbaakanyi that they came to check on him after hearing about his arrest for murder.

“You see, this has been my life this week. This issue is hurting me, my children and relatives are calling me from as far as Gaborone because someone decided to write an evil lie about us,” he said.

“I hope The Voice will clear my name so I could enjoy my retirement in peace,” added Mbaakanyi.

He said what is even more worrying for him is that the rumour is rife in the village but the originator remains faceless.

“If I had killed a person, wouldn’t I be in jail right now? No one kills another person and walks around like I’m doing,”said Mbaakanyi.

Tutume Police Station Commander Jerry Halahala dismissed the rumour as mere village gossip.

“This is a serious matter and if that was indeed true I’d know,” he said.