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Community wants witchcraft-accused family banished

by Staff reporter
03 Jul 2023 at 16:08hrs | Views
St Peter's residents on the outskirts of Bulawayo are calling for a family to be banished from the community for practising witchcraft.

This is after some community members suffered some mysterious ailments which left some bedridden.

The community is accusing three siblings aged 16, 11 and 8 years of terrorising the community.

The siblings reportedly paint their faces with a white powder and wear some robes and attack community members, especially at night.

Community members called for a meeting on Saturday to address the matter after five people fell victim to the siblings.

Two victims were left paralysed and bedridden.

One of the victims, Agnes Ncube, is said to have been at the forefront of calling for the siblings' father's arrest after he axed a community and robbed him of his money.

He is currently in jail.

Agnes' sister, Patricia, testified to the community court that there had been squabbles between her sister and the siblings' family prior to her sister's sudden illness.

"We have requested the community elders to help us deal with this matter. All that we want to know is what these children did to my sister," Patricia said.

"This whole issue started in May when the father of these children was arrested for axing a community member and stealing money from him. What he did was unacceptable. My sister (Agnes) made her position known on the matter that justice had to be served. That was when his family started sending threats to my sister. We never thought it would get to this stage."

Dorcas Moyo, who looks after Agnes, narrated that the incident occurred on June 23 at night.

"During the day she was fine and healthy. I went out to do some errands and left my baby with her. I got back and we made supper, ate and went to bed. She usually wakes me up in the morning but on Saturday she did not come to knock on my door. I just asked myself what would have been the problem. This was around 8 AM, rather unusual for her because she is an early bird," Moyo recounted.

"I then went to her door and knocked. There was no response. I pushed the door open and she was just lying on the bed. I shook her and called out her name but she was not responding. I then went to call other neighbours to come and help me. We called an ambulance for her; she was taken to Mpilo but they told us to take her back home because they could not help her with anything."

Moyo further narrated that later that evening, after their return from the hospital, they were sitting with community members who had come to visit Agnes and the eight-year-old sibling said her older sister (16) is the one who had attacked Agnes.

"There were a number of people here when she confessed. She said her sister painted her face with the usual white stuff and wore her robes, did some ritual dances and then headed out. She said when she came back, she told them she had scared Agnes and she left her mute," she narrated.

"We called her mother to come and witness what her child was saying and she denied knowledge of any of it. The girl was adamant, she even said that after the ambulance came, they told the 16-year-old that Agnes was going to the hospital because of what she had done and she laughed it off."

The three siblings told the court that they were acting on the instructions of their mother, who had sent them to go after the community members.

The 16-year-old testified that her stepmother and step-grandmother went to a traditional healer because Agnes had allegedly threatened that the woman would die during childbirth together with her child.

The 11-year-old objected to the claims and alleged that the 16-year-old had acted on her own accord and went after Agnes, accusing her of speaking ill of her father.

Prior to the court session, CITE spoke to the mother of the children and she narrated that the 16-year-old has weird tendencies of sitting outside at night or just disappearing.

"The girl is my husband's child. I went to fetch her and her other sibling, together with my husband from their maternal grandmother a while ago. She did not want me to get them to me initially, but she eventually gave in. I took them to my church and there was a prophecy that they had a bad spirit from their grandmother," she said.  

"The older girl has some strange habits that we do not understand. Sometimes when we sit down as a family after supper she goes and sits outside in the dark. We don't know what time she gets back in the house and when we ask her, she says she will be feeling hot indoors."

She said her child is the one who narrated how the whole thing happened.  

"When the neighbours called me, I told them that I don't know what happened because I would be sleeping at night. We have tried to call the girl's maternal relatives to come and witness all this that is happening, but they are not forthcoming."

During the court session she confessed that her mother had taken her to a traditional healer but only to protect herself and her child from the threat that had been made that she would die with her baby while giving birth.

Members of the community who attended the meeting testified that indeed they heard the eight-year-old confessing that the older sibling had scared Agnes to her near death.

"We were all there when the child spoke, it's a pity that today she does not want to repeat her words. But all of us were there. What we need to establish as a community is a way forward. If what they did to Agnes can be undone, may it be undone so that we can move forward," said a community member.

Another said what was happening tantamount to witchcraft and satanism and the family should be banished from their community.

"We have never seen such in our community. This is tantamount to witchcraft. We can't have such young children having corpses in the community. What If Agnes does not get better? After such allegations how do we know that everyone else is safe?"

The court session adjourned after Agnes' family said they need to sit down on their own and discuss the way forward before giving their feedback to the legal committee.

The legal committee said the court shall sit again at a later date when both families have had their own discussions. 

Source -