Forty-four-year-old Salimu Ayidi feels helpless. The tube between his legs is ever conspicuous as it has failed to blend into his anatomy in every sense, except offer the relief of answering the call of nature in passing urine. His wife left him.
He admits the tube causes him a lot of discomfort and pain in urinating or just harbouring it. He has to take 20 pills each day because his wounds have not completely healed since his manhood was hacked off by â€œa chain of businessmenâ€ in Salima five months ago.
â€œMy life will never be normal and my health has not returned to its original state. I have been weakened by my condition and all my proceeds from my business of frying chips have been spent during my sickness. It has been hard to fend for my three young children,â€ said Ayidi.
He recalled the Monday night on April 3, 2012 when three men he described as â€œzigawengaâ€ (thugs) invaded his privacy, lifted him up and carried him off to an unknown location to get their â€œmerchandiseâ€ in form of his manhood.
Ayidi watched helplessly as two of the men held each leg down to pin him as the third craftily removed all of his private parts. He later passed out from the pain and did not remember how the men transported the items from the scene of the crime.
He was discovered by passers-by, the following morning, who reported the matter to police. Ayidi said that day marked the long journey to the slow recovery, having spent two months at Salima District Hospital cared for by his sister. The wife left for Makanjira in Mangochi, a month after the attack, and has not returned since.
Police later apprehended one suspect Samuel Banda, 24, for allegedly being found in possession of private parts he offered for sale to a businessperson in the district, Rosemary Nkhoma.
Salima officer-in-charge Peter Mangani is on record to have said Banda allegedly admitted to offering the private parts for sale.
Nkhoma, on the other hand, alleged that Banda had been pestering her with an offer for private parts for a month. She said he eventually brought the actual package valued at K100 000 (about $400).
She is on record to have asked for more time to source more money but tricked Banda by going to the police who eventually got to him. Nkhoma too was picked for questioning.
The media is always awash with stories of men, women or youths losing private parts to unscrupulous businesspersons. It is usually reported that covers are blown by would-be buyers who report to police for arrests.
Nation on Sunday researched on cases of arrests, convictions and murders that involved cutting of body parts between 2008 and 2012. Over 20 cases were reported in the media that included victims who have lost their lives, maimed for life and whose private parts were almost removed.
We tried to investigate the sort of market the country has for private parts and why most would-be buyers who foil the deal by reporting the sellers to police go scot-free.
National police spokesperson Dave Chingwalu said trends have shown that suspects either disable or kill their victims for their private parts in order to look for markets or supply an order.
Said Chingwalu: â€œIt is difficult to determine the market and its magnitude in the country. But we know those either targeted or implicated after an arrest are the rich and usually businesspeople.
â€œWe have had confessions by some businessmen who claim the parts are used in traditional medicine to either expand businesses or as a means to accumulate wealthâ€.
He admitted that some of the targeted people sometimes rush to the police to report a private part trade before it is completed to either exonerate themselves in a failed deal or do it genuinely after getting an unprecedented offer.
Chingwalu said police take appropriate action on either the seller or buyer depending on available evidence.
However, according to Southern Region police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa, the market for body parts is secret because suspects refuse to disclose it.
â€œInvestigators I have spoken to claim that suspects refuse to disclose their markets or the use for private parts under whatever circumstances. They said even where more people are involved in removing the parts, the one arrested rarely reveals his accomplices,â€ said Gondwa.