Cabinet condemnation of tsikamutandas spot-on
AS public anger grows over the operations of witch hunters, commonly known as the Government had to pronounce itself. The self-styled witch busters are wreaking havoc countrywide, taking advantage of ignorance of villagers and their deep-seated belief in witchcraft. Some market themselves as prophets, others as but all they want us believe they have in common are supernatural powers to smoke out witches that also enable them to exorcise the persons and their homes of the bad spirits.
In some instances, the shadowy elements, often middle-aged men sporting dreadlocks apparently to intimidate the villagers, agree with local traditional leaders to execute their work but in others they simply invade, claiming to be responding to some calling to cleanse people and their homes of things.
Exorcism is a traditional practice in the country but it was a rule-bound exercise, far different from what we are witnessing now as common con artistes inviting themselves into homes to indicate witches and extorting huge payments, almost always cattle.
When they indicate someone a witch, the divide families and villages, leaving them at war. Also, they leave communities poorer when they extract their arm-and-a-leg compensation.
Gokwe, particularly Chief Njelele’s area is always in the news, not only for the quirky occurrences there, but also the activities of
In Tsholotsho recently some chiefs argued over the presence of the con artistes.
That Cabinet discussed their activities on Monday demonstrates the gravity of the problem that the witch hunters pose.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe said that the Government does not condone witch-hunting practices, adding that it has not licensed anyone to conduct such practices.
He said Cabinet agreed that are criminals, fraudsters and extortionists who bring no value to society.
“Cabinet noted with much regret and concern that a significant part of traditional leaders embracing chiefs, headmen and village heads are by commission or omission condoning this evil, primitive, extortionist and illegal practice that is condemned by our national laws.
“Furthermore, the unscrupulous perpetrators and accomplices of witch-hunting have misrepresented communities claiming that they had been permitted by Government authorities to carry out the illegal activity,” he said.
Dr Mushohwe said Government was calling upon anyone who might have fallen victim to the witch-hunters to report the matter to the law enforcement agencies so that the culprits would be brought to book and compensation paid.
“The Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of Natural Cultural Heritage, Honourable Abedinico Ncube, has been directed to ensure that the repugnant extortionist practice is immediately brought to an end countrywide,” he said.
After so many years of unjust self-enrichment and causing social strife, we expect the
to watch their steps more carefully after the Government condemned their work on Monday and called for their arrests. Their greed for easy economic benefit might urge them to continue, but the must be warned that that will not make their activities legal. They must seek better ways for raising money to survive not to move around with live snakes, tortoises or some funny objects decorated by beads hidden in their luggage only plant them unnoticed at the “witches’ homes” in the commotion they wilfully create. After they do this, they suddenly “discover” the animals and strange objects and declare them as belonging to the targeted persons.
As we have had cases where chiefs have invited the con artistes, we similarly look forward to the traditional leaders repositioning their priorities.
are a negative development in the country,” Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president Chief Fortune Charumbira told
recently. “They are a menace that should be brought to book. I urge affected people to report them to the nearest police station. It is a criminal offence to accuse someone of practising witchcraft and their acts shouldn’t be encouraged. Chiefs should be the ones who should be taking a lead in protecting their subjects, chiefs should ban
in their villages.” Now that the authorities have made their position clear as traditional leaders did a long time ago, we expect police to enhance their policing to detect witch-hunting activities wherever they occur and arrest the perpetrators and charge them with, among other crimes, fraud, extortion and spreading alarm and despondency.