Saturday, June 15, 2024

Catholic Priest Who was Brutally Murdered in Ndola Put to Rest


Catholic Priest Fr. Deodatus Kunda Mbebe, who was brutally murdered in Ndola last Saturday, has been buried at St. Theresa Mission in Ibenga Mpongwe on the Copperbelt Province.

Fr. Mbebe, 50, was discovered dead on Saturday night by unknown male person lying with multiple face injuries within Pamodzi Township of Ndola.

A police report say Fr. Mbebe was found dead 50 metres away from where his alleged girl friend Justina Luchele resides and two of the deceased mobile phones where found in her home.

The Wednesday funeral procession started with Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Kansenshi, Ndola before mourners travelling to Mpongwe for the actual burial.

Catholic Diocese of Ndola Bishop Benjamin Phiri, Bishop of Mansa Patrick Chisanga, several priests and scores of Catholics from all walks of life attended Fr. Mbebe’s burial.

In his sermon, Bishop Phiri said Fr. Mbebe deserved a dignified burial regardless of the controversial manner in which he was killed.

The Bishop of Ndola described the death of Fr. Mbebe as painful.

Bishop Phiri also bemoaned the negative publicity the death of Fr. Mbebe has received especially on social media.

He said Fr. Mbebe served God and his people well even though he had his own shortcomings.

Bishop Phiri said it was unfortunate that many people have focused on Fr. Mbebe’s mistakes instead of the good things he did while alive.

He added that some people were using Fr. Mbebe’s death to shame the Catholic Church.

Bishop Phiri said the Catholic Church cannot deny Jesus Christ because one of it’s clergy has fallen.

He urged the congregation to prepare for their death saying humans can die at any time.

Bishop Phiri further demanded the arrest of people behind Fr. Mbebe’s killing.

“God does not judge us harshly because he knows what is inside us. All those people whom we judge harshly among us God looks differently at them. I am not trying to glorify mistakes. I am trying to say let us try to be genuine and let us love each other. The death of this man should be a wake up call to all of us. When he was dying where were we? Why didn’t we help him? There was nobody to protect him. Obviously, for a man of his strength the killers must be more than one. I hope the police are following the correct trail because I saw that there is more concentration on publishing negative stories about him than finding his killers. If I was the lawyer I would have arrested someone,” Bishop Phiri said.

“I am here to mourn my son and to say that I pray earnestly that God will look kindly upon him and remember that he is the one who called him and that he may allow him to enter his kingdom. He has paid his price. He should be allowed now to enter the kingdom of God and be granted the gift that is reserved for those who have consecrated themselves to God so that praying and following the will of God we may be able to make right perhaps what was not right and to do better where perhaps we are falling to do well,” Bishop Phiri said.

After Mass the procession, mourners travelled to Ibenga Mission in Mpongwe for the actual burial.

Police in Ndola picked up and detained a female nurse in connection with the murder of Catholic Priest Fr. Deodatus Kunda Mbebe in Pamodzi Township on Saturday evening.

Fr. Mbebe, who belonged to the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia, was based at St. Joseph Mission in Lufwanyama District on the Copperbelt.

Copperbelt Police Commanding Officer Sharon Zulu confirmed on Monday that Justina Luchele, a nurse at Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital in Ndola, has been picked by police for interrogation.

Ms. Zulu said Fr. Mbebe was found dead 50 metres away from where Ms Luchele resides and two of the deceased mobile phones where found in her home.

The suspect Luchele is said to have been Fr. Mbebe’s girlfriend of many years.

“Suspected Murder, reported at Pamodzi VLV Police Post in Chifubu , occurred on 17/09/22 at about 21:30hrs in Pamodzi Township Ndola District. Police received information from members of the public who declined to disclose their particulars to the effect that there was unknown male person lying dead with multiple face injuries within Pamodzi Township of Ndola. Upon receipt of the above information, Police rushed to the scene and found the body of a male person with multiple cuts on the head and broken right arm lying in a pool of blood facing upward and a concrete block beside the body suspected to have been used in the act. The deceased was putting on a black jeans trousers and a grey T-shirt dark in complexion and of about 1.6mtrs tall,” Ms. Zulu said.

“Brief facts of the matter are that on 17/09/22 around 21:30hrs members of the public who declined to give their details to Police found the body of a male person lying on the ground facing upward with multiple head injuries and could not idenfy him, and further disclosed that they did not hear anything apart from hearing the dogs barking within the neighborhood and reported the matter at Pamodzi VLC Police Post. The body of the deceased was later picked and deposited in Ndola Teaching Hospital mortuary awaiting identification and postmortem,” Ms. Zulu said.

Ms. Zulu narrated how Fr. Mbebe was identified by his close friend and his superior.

“Follow up report on the suspected murder which was reported on 17/09/22 at 21.30hrs in Pamdzi township, Ndola Chifubu VLC Police Post. Be informed that the body of the deceased has since been identified as that of “Father DEODATUS KUNDA MBEBE”.Brief facts leading to the identification of the deceased is that , on 18/09/22 around 07:00hrs male Muleba Simon aged 49 of H/No.3213 Pamodzi Township Ndola also the area Councillor for Fibobe ward of Chifubu constituence who happens to be a childhood friend to the deceased (Father Deodatus Kunda Mbebe) received a phone call from female Justina Luchele the girlfriend to the deceased inquiring the whereabout of the manfriend. Upon receipt of the call,male Muleba Simon got concerned for he knew that the deceased was at the caller’s residence. The deceased (Father Deodatus Kunda Mbebe) paid a visit on his friend Simon Muleba on 17/09/22 around 09:00hrs and left around 10:30hrs to go and visit his girlfriend Justina Luchele of Pamodzi Township Ndola therefore, the call from the said Justina Luchele prompted him to meet her,” Ms Zulu narrated.

“However, the lady explained that the deceased left her place around 16:00hrs while driving her vehicle Toyota Corolla VVTI Reg No. ACV 8334 silver in colour going to Ndola bowling club and never returned back. Simon Muleba further went on to check for the deceased at Franciscan Mission press at the Priest residence. However, he was not found, to that effect Father Lambe aged 51 a Catholic Priest who serves as a Major Superior for the Franciscan of Malawi and Zambia accompanied Simon Muleba to Ndola Teaching Hospital mortuary where they identified the deceased as Father Deodatus Kunda Mbebe aged 50 a Catholic priest at Kalumbwa St.Joseph Mission in Kalulushi district. After the two identified the deceased, they went to inform the Police of the sad development , Police with the two went back to the mortuary where a confirmation was made. Police picked Justina Luchele girlfriend to the deceased for interrogation as the body of the deceased was discovered and picked the previous night about 50 metres away from where Justina Luchele resides and two of the deceased phones where found in her house,” she said.

Ms. Zulu revealed that Police suspects Ms. Luchele wanted to run away after the murder as some of her clothes were found packed in a bag.

“Investigations further revealed that the lady is a nurse at Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital. The two have been in a relationship since 2002. During the search in her house, Police officers found the deceased’s clothes, including the Catholic Robe, shoes, two wrist watches, his portrait photo on the wall, and some documents. This clearly shows that it was more like marriage. But suppringly , some of her clothes were found parked in a bag, reasons known to herself. Our suspicion is that she wanted to run away after the murder,” Ms. Zulu concluded.

Minister Provincial for the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia and Malawi Fr. Felena Lambe has also confirmed the death of Fr. Mbebe.

“This serves to notify you all that the Province of the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia regrets to announce the sorrowful and painful death Friar Deodatus Mbebe. Friar Deodatus was brutally killed yesterday (Saturday) evening of September 17, 2022 in Pamodzi, Ndola as his body was picked up around 21:00 hours and taken to the mortuary at Ndola Teaching Hospital,” Fr. Lambe said.

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