Cab­i­net con­dem­na­tion of tsika­mu­tan­das spot-on

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.