HARARE – Zimbabwe star Kuda Mahachi (pictured), who has been cleared in the courts of neglecting and trying to kill his sick young son, has opened up – in a heart-wrenching statement – how the traumatic episode has cost him all his savings, and probably his football career.

Mahachi was last week found not guilty of attempted murder by a Bulawayo regional magistrate after standing trial for seven months, accused of a horrific attempt on the life of his four-year-old son Diego, who he says suffers from a rare and deadly “flesh-eating” disease called Ulcer-Sepsis Necrotic.

In a harrowing account on Monday, the 29-year-old Warriors offensive midfielder narrated how his “bitter ex-lover” Maritha Ndlovu, Diego’s mother, used the child’s perilous health condition to maliciously accuse him of trying to kill the minor.

The false accusations have come at a huge cost professionally for Mahachi, who was suspended by his South African club SuperSport United in May when news of the alleged monstrous acts made headlines in the two neighbouring countries.

In June, the Pretoria club announced it would not renew the Zimbabwean attacker’s contract, which was ending that month, to allow Mahachi time to clear his name.

Mahachi endured a seven-month trial after Ndlovu made stunning allegations that during her son’s visit to his father in South Africa, the footballer – who now lives with his new wife Rose – poured hot liquid on the child, causing life-threatening burns.

Ndlovu claimed Mahachi could have done this for ritual purposes, to boost his fortunes and football career.

It is further claimed that Mahachi then dispatched the child back home to Zimbabwe unaccompanied, his health failing, and only the bus crew taking care of the minor.

Diego, whose leg has since been amputated due to his tissue ailment, was received in Bulawayo by his father’s sisters, in whose custody he was at his Cowdry Park home in Bulawayo. The family didn’t seek medical attention for Diego when his illness persisted, choosing to “self-medicate” him, which invited the charges of neglect on Mahachi.

“My son was a victim of negligence at the hands of family members who were meant to look after him at my home in Bulawayo,” he stated.

“My sisters were questioned on why they took so long to seek medical help and I don’t know if it was out of fear of being charged with negligence, but they proceeded to state that Diego had returned from South Africa in that state.”

It was after his son’s health condition worsened that Mahachi’s life took a horrendous turn, falling from grace with a thud, under a battery of very serious allegations.

“I have also silently been a victim of a bitter ex-lover for so long,” Mahachi narrated his ordeal in the statement.

“She accused me of kidnapping and smuggling my own child. Yet each time he visited me in South Africa on three separate occasions, he returned in perfect health. On each visit without fail, he was receiving medical check-ups. I have been fighting many battles behind the scenes with Diego’s mother.”

Mahachi further revealed his nightmare at the hands of Ndlovu, including finding out that two other children from their relationship were not his, as well as being blackmailed to give her a substantial amount of money.

“Diego’s mother had been demanding maintenance of three children (Deneo, Dellish and Diego; Deneo unfortunately died from hydrocephalus). I had been paying maintenance for years without question until friends advised me to take paternity tests for the children. Results from the paternity tests revealed that only Diego was biologically mine. Upon this news, I stopped paying maintenance and this infuriated Maritha and her mother, who swore to destroy me. She went on to demand I pay her R2.5 million (around US$140 000). Even when these false accusations were being levelled against me, they demanded I give them my house in Cowdry Park to end all this. I refused and decided to go to trial and have my day in court.”

Another cause of great torment for Mahachi was being harshly and unfairly judged by the public, with many choosing to believe the national team tear-away was indeed wrong and deserving of fitting punishment.

Even as he has been acquitted, Mahachi spoke about being a “broken man”,  a situation made worse by how even fellow footballers, fans and some relatives rejected and judged him in his greatest hour of need.

“During these seven months, I saw my whole world turn upside down,” he said.

“I was dismissed from my club with immediate effect and no income. I was vilified by a nation that I once was the footballing darling of and my fate was sealed through social media without a trial. During these seven months I lost everything I lived for. Seven months of being shunned even by those I played alongside. Seven months of death threats. Seven months of depression – the list goes on.

“I am not just a broken man, I am a pained man by what has happened to my son and how I was accused of attempting to kill him despite reports from medical experts. No one cared to give me a chance, no one cared to give me the benefit of doubt.”

Use of Juju to enhance performance, or weaken the opponent, is a widespread practice not only in Zimbabwe, but in several other African countries.

Being accused of such, at the cost of his own son, and also having colleagues making similar allegations was another extremely low point of Mahachi’s brush with the law.

“I have played football for the past 15 years for my country and for top-flight clubs. Yet despite this, I was accused of using my four-year-old son for rituals,” bemoaned Mahachi.

“How is it that I have played this game for 11 years before my son was born and suddenly now needed him for rituals for my career? Even fellow football players that I struggled together with as young boys, trying to make it in our early careers, accused me of using rituals to harm their careers. But what would I benefit from that?”

A lot of Zimbabwean footballers have plunged into extreme poverty after retirement due to wayward lifestyles that prevented them from securing their post-playing days.

It will be an unfortunate turn of fate if this was to happen to Mahachi, because of false and fabricated accusations.

Already he is counting his losses.

“I have lost everything I have worked for,” said Mahachi. “It was my dream to play football for my country, to serve my country and represent it. As a man, I can no longer feed my family, as all savings have been depleted in my quest for justice. Yes, I have been exonerated, but the nightmare I have gone through can never be erased.”

Mahachi is free now, and is still only 29. At that age, he still has a lot of football left in him. But following the disturbing experience of the past seven months, Mahachi now speaks of his career in the past tense. He perhaps feels it is the fame from football that caused him so much heartache, so the game will be a painful reminder.

Maybe he feels he can longer play alongside and against the same back-biting footballers, who fueled the malice of imaginary rituals, and still regard them as teammates and friends as before.

“My career was ended when I had not reached my pinnacle,” he said. “How does one recover from that?”

But Mahachi, who is “overwhelmed by the kindness and continued support” as well as the “prayers” of those who helped him through the trying times, hinted in conclusion that he in fact desire to revive his career.

“I can only pray that someone out there is willing to take a chance on me, so I can go back to playing the sport that I love and finish my career without this torrid time being how I exit the game of football.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here