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Police petitioned over Filabusi tsikamutandas

by Staff reporter
11 Aug 2022 at 06:44hrs | Views
GWANDA-based human rights watchdog, Coalition for Citizens Advocates (Coca) has petitioned police in Matabeleland South to deal with tsikamutandas (witch hunters) who are "fleecing" Filabusi villages of their livestock and other property in the guise of cleansing the community of evil spirits.

In a petition dated August 9, 2022 directed to the police officer-in-charge Matabeleland South province, Coca spokesperson Wilbert Ndiweni said the villagers from Filabusi's Chief Sibasa area approached his organisation seeking assistance to stop the illegal witch hunts from taking place in the area.

The Coca petition was copied to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Ndiweni said the villagers were accusing the tsikamutandas of robbing them with the blessing of local chiefs and other traditional leaders who invited them to the area.

He described the activities as organised crime and asked the police to intervene and arrest the witch hunters.

"As a human rights watchdog we hereby make a report of criminal cases being co-ordinated in Filabusi area under Chief Sibasa where a Tsikamutanda is wreaking havoc, forcing villagers to lose their livestock and valuable property including cash in alleged cleansing ritual ceremonies," Ndiweni wrote.

"Villagers have engaged us as Coca to help alert authorities, hence the report for the criminals to be apprehended. We have got details of those who were robbed and are disgruntled. They say word has been sent from a chief to forward names of all those who default. As Coca we don't support witchcraft in societies, but we come in when villagers cry out against being cowed into rituals by their leaders, which results in them being forced to pay in ridiculous means."

Ndiweni said Mlotshwa Mlilo lost a cow after a witch hunter claimed that there was an evil spirit in his home. Another villager, Benson Tshuma was charged eight cattle after being told that paranormal activities were taking place at his home. Tshuma, however, refused to pay.

"He reported his case to us. There are many witch-hunting activities being conducted in Filabusi, and people lose goats, and valuable property and the traditional leaders are blessing the illegal activities," Ndiweni added, further indicating that livestock and property were being sold at very low prices by the tsikamutandas.

Police are yet to respond to the petition. Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said she would check with Filabusi police before giving a detailed response to Southern Eye. Chief Sibasa was not reachable for comment yesterday.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe