Lulu’s Side of the story as Kanumba is Buried
|Elizabeth Michael aka Lulu Akistarehe (Picha kwa hisani ya Global Publishers)|
By Mkinga Mkinga
The Citizen Reporter
Dar es Salaam. The prime suspect in the death on Saturday of local film star Steven Kanumba spoke out on the tragedy for the first time just a day before tens of thousands of people gathered for his funeral yesterday.Elizabeth Michael, alias Lulu, broke her silence on Monday—two days after she was arrested. Investigators at Oysterbay police station had to engage a crime psychologist to get her to open up on the events leading up to the death of the star who had just been invited to Hollywood in the United States.
Highly placed police sources told The Citizen in an exclusive interview yesterday that Lulu, girlfriend of the deceased, started narrating what had transpired on the night the 28-year-old died after meeting the psychologist.
“The suspect, who had refused to cooperate with police detectives from the Kinondoni regional police office, has now managed to speak for three hours with the psychologist,” the sources said on condition of anonymity since they are not official spokespersons of the Tanzania Police Force.
The psychologist from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in Dar es Salaam chatted candidly with the suspect for three hours on Monday, a day before Kanumba was buried.
Lulu reportedly told the investigators that Kanumba phoned her on the fateful night asking her to join him for an outing. She went to his home but told him she did not really want to go out and that she preferred to return home.
Kanumba allegedly wanted Lulu to accompany him to a Mashujaa Band show at Vingunguti, and became furious when she refused to accompany him.
According to the sources, the misunderstanding between the two developed into a quarrel, with Kanumba demanding to know what it was that she had left at her home.“According to Lulu, the deceased locked the door to his room,” said the sources. “In a panic, she unlocked the door and fled.”
Lulu is quoted as saying that she managed to escape after he fell and had no idea what transpired after her departure.
The sources said police have also interrogated another suspect, a Bongo Flava musician (name withheld), who gave Lulu a lift when she left Kanumba’s Sinza residence. “I am sorry, brother, I cannot comment on that issue,” he told The Citizen before he hang up.
According to detectives, other suspects have also been lined up for questioning. The sources could not say how long the interrogations would take.
In another development, the sources said heavyweight politicians related to Lulu have been sending her consolation text messages pledging to assist her. “Their involvement with the suspect could complicate our investigations,” said the sources.
Yesterday, this paper reported that Kanumba died of a brain injury caused by a sudden blow to the head.
One of the doctors who examined Kanumba’s body at Muhimbili National Hospital hinted that the actor died on the spot after suffering such severe brain damage that he collapsed and stopped breathing.
His sudden death sent shockwaves across the country, East Africa and West Africa—particularly Ghana and Nigeria—where he had achieved prominence in the continent’s leading film industry, Nollywood. He had returned home from a trip to Ghana just a few days before his death.
President Jakaya Kikwete joined mourners on Sunday, calling the fallen star a brilliant ambassador who sold Tanzania far and wide through the screen.