TO those seated near him in the grandstand during the mid-week friendly match between Zambia and Malawi at Lusaka’s Independence Stadium, the tall, plump fellow in a yellow T-shirt and wearing a red cap and dark goggles looked a perfect soccer-crazy fan.
Each time Zambia scored a goal, he was one of those who would stand up and cheer excitedly, “Zambia! Zambia!” as he shook hands with some of those around him in appreciation of the magnificent performance put up by the reconstituted national team following the death of the original team in the Gabon air disaster on April 28, 1993.
That the man, later identified as Harrison Wodyela, was happy that the reconstituted national team was performing so well was a fact.
But the truth of the matter, however, was that Wodyela had never been a keen soccer fan. He last attended an important football match about a decade before and it was only because a friend had asked him to escort him there, otherwise he would not have gone there on his own.
Thus, even as he took part in cheering the national team in the international friendly, which took place on a Tuesday, Wodyela was totally at a loss as to which player played which position! All he knew was that the local side put on striped yellow-and-black jerseys.
For Wodyela had not gone to the stadium for the purpose of watching the game. He had gone there on a special mission: to monitor the movements of his wife, Deliwe, who had gone to the match in her lover’s company!
The unsuspecting wife and her lover were also seated in the grandstand about five rows in front of Wodyela and, from the look of things, they too were immensely enjoying the game, although in their case they didn’t jump up and down, as most did, when Zambia scored a goal.
They just clapped.
Wodyela had no idea who the man with his wife was but he looked like a “chinondo” (rich man).
It hurt him seeing his wife sitting shoulder to shoulder with another man but he resolved not to do anything “foolish” until at an appropriate time.
Deliwe’s lover happened to be a keen soccer fan who never missed any important matches held in Lusaka. Interestingly enough, he seemed to have taken a liking for a particular position in the grandstand where he felt he could watch the game more clearly.
Using a friend’s car, Wodyela and his informant drove to the stadium and parked on the western side. And as luck would have it, as they approached the gate to the grandstand, they saw Deliwe and her lover in a queue just walking in.
The duo waited until the unsuspecting couple had walked into the stadium, then they too bought tickets and got in.
As expected, the lovers took seats near the VIP stand, which was the man’s favourite position each time he went to watch a match there.
To monitor the lovers’ movements properly, Wodyela and his informant mounted the steps and sat about five rows behind. It was nice watching somebody who was not seeing you and the duo appeared to be enjoying every minute of it.
For some unknown reasons, some 25 minutes into the second half, the lovers stood up and went away. After a little while, Wodyela and his informant followed. They went outside just in time to see the two lovers driving off in a white Mercedes Benz car bearing the registration number supplied by the informant.§
Wodyela and the informant also jumped into their borrowed car and followed the Mercedes Benz from a safe distance. The lovers were trailed up to Woodlands Extension where they were seen entering a house at a corner.
Wodyela and his informant waited for about 10 minutes before they drove to the said house and knocked on the door. There was no reply. They knocked again – no reply. Again – no reply. At the fourth knock, a man shouted from within, “Who the hell is that?”
The informant replied that they were strangers who needed help. After a few minutes, the door opened and the man, who looked rather annoyed at having been disturbed, asked curtly, “what do you want?”
“My name is Bosswell Khoswe. I am looking for a woman called Ms Deliwe Wodyela. I’m told she’s somewhere around this place,” said the informant deliberately.
“Are you crazy?” the man shouted angrily. “Who told you I was keeping such a woman here?” “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to be rude,” apologised the informant. “We had been directed here. Okay, sir, bye.”
The man was apparently too annoyed to respond and just walked back into the house, slamming the door behind him. The informant went back into the car and they drove for a short distance and parked on one of the roads in the township from where they could observe what was going on at the house where the two lovers were.
Seeing nothing happening, Wodyela and his informant drove back to the house. The time was then about 19:00 hours. This time, it was Wodyela himself who went to knock on the door while the informant stood near the window to ensure that nobody escaped.
Prior to this, the duo had deflated the tyres of the Mercedes Benz to render the adulterous couple inside the house immobile.
Wodyela had wanted to smash the car but the informant restrained him, saying, “I understand and appreciate your anger but as a friend, I advise you to keep cool.”
But when nobody appeared to be responding to his knocks, Wodyela threatened to set the car ablaze unless those inside opened the door. This did the trick because shortly afterwards the door opened.
To their surprise, an old woman appeared in the doorway and greeted both of them. “Can I help you?” she asked, eyeing the duo somewhat suspiciously.
“We want to speak to the owner of the house. Please call him for us,” said Wodyela.
“I’m sorry, the owner of the house has gone to Libala. A friend has picked him up,” the woman said in an unconvincing tone. “Do you have any message for him?”
Knowing that the woman was lying, Wodyela threatened to beat her up if she did not reveal where the owner of the house was. Frightened, she used eye signals to indicate that the man they were looking for was in the house.
Wodyela and his informant then stormed the main bedroom only to find it empty. They looked under the bed – there was nobody. Then the informant suggested they check in the built-in wardrobe – and there, trembling from stem to stern, were the two lovers in their birthday suits!
Deliwe looked completely shocked to see her husband. But instead of punishing her, he decided to teach his rival a lesson by giving him a heavy punch on the mouth, breaking two of his lower teeth.
That done, Wodyela grabbed his rival, who was then bleeding from the mouth, by the neck and gave him a head butt that sent him reeling to the floor. Finally satisfied with the punishment he had dispensed, he told his wife, “Rush your lover to the hospital and don’t come back to my house.”
So saying, he and the informant drove off…..
By Wednesday, Wodyela had not received any news from Woodlands Extension relating to the assault he had inflicted on his rival the previous night, but friends of the victim, said to be a top-ranking company executive, said he had decided to let sleeping dogs lie for fear of exposing himself through such court action…
The author is a Lusaka-based media consultant, recipient of the 1978 Best News Reporter of the Year Award and a former diplomat in South Africa and Botswana. For comments, sms 0977425827/0967146485 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org