Close family members said yesterday that Dr. William Phiri of Chiredzi, who was hospitalized, was in a stable state and showed signs of recovery. He tried to commit suicide after killing his two children and severely injuring two others.
Police said they were charging him with murder and attempted murder.
Of Dr Phiri’s two injured children, Ropafadzo (6) is in a stable condition while Themba (4) is still critical and was transferred to Masvingo General Hospital, in the company of her mother Ms Loice Chakauya.
Dr Phiri’s relatives arrived at his home in Mkwasine for the funeral wake of the two children.
Dr Phiri killed his two children Princess (3) and Victor (7 months) by stabbing them with a knife before crashing them to the ground.
He then allegedly tried to torch his house after locking himself and the four children from inside.
Neighbours had to force open one of the doors to rescue Dr Phiri,who was naked,and the four children. Unfortunately two of the children passed on while the other two were rushed to hospital.
One of Dr Phiri’s workers at his sugar cane plot in Mkwasine estates, Ms Maria Makarichi, yesterday opened up about his employer, giving a glimpse into his personality.
Ms Makarichi said Dr Phiri and his wife lived a quiet and peaceful life such that it never seemed their life story would ever hit an iceberg like last weekend’s tragedy.
“He (Dr Phiri) was a serious very serious and passionate about farming and to me he appeared a good person and loving husband with no apparent acrimony with his wife from the time I started working for them in September last year,” said Ms Makarichi.
“My employer was, however, a temperamental person who would get angry when his path was crossed, but would melt like ice when discussing farming issues. We stay a bit far away from the compound to really know the realities of their life but they were peaceful.”
Ms Makarichi said from the time he started working for Dr Phiri he never got wind that he had any other wife.
“I only know the mother of his four children as his only wife. He was always at home with his family save for some one or two days when he would be away in Chiredzi Town where he is building a surgery.”
According to her, Dr Phiri had twice tried to open a surgery at rented premises in Chiredzi, with the initiative hitting a dead end.
“He was building his own surgery this time. Before that he used to rent, but when the ventures failed, he started concentrating on farming while building his own surgery at his other place of residence in Chiredzi town,’’ she said.
Ms Makarichi said she spoke to Dr Phiri’s wife had briefed her about the condition of the two injured children and their father.
“I spoke to her earlier on today (Tuesday) and she told me that Ropafadzo is in a stable condition but the boy (Themba) is in pain and at Masvingo General Hospital. She also said Dr Phiri is getting better.”
Efforts to locate Ms Chakauya were fruitless yesterday as her cellphone was being answered by Ms Makarichi.
Dr Phiri’s neighbour, Mr Crispen Tongogara, said he had visited him with other Mkwasine cane farmers in hospital but failed to see him.
He however, corroborated that his condition was stable.
“We visited Dr Phiri in hospital today as a community of cane farmers at Mkwasine but only a few of us were allowed to see him and I am one of those who remained behind,” said Mr Tongogara.
“However, our colleagues who saw him told us the good news that Dr Phiri has regained consciousness, though he is still shy to look at visitors in the eye or to talk. They said his condition is encouraging.”
“The doctor’s mother and father arrived this afternoon and they were having a family meeting with close relatives to prepare for a funeral of the two children but his wife (Mrs Phiri) was not there. We will wait for further instructions,” said Mr Tongogara.