Some villagers in Igusi Village in Ward 10, Nyamandlovu, have been threatened with eviction for refusing to consult witch hunters popularly known as “Tsikamutanda”.
The witch hunters claim to be on a mission to eradicate witchcraft by removing goblins from some of the homesteads and demand livestock and money as a form of payment.
Some villagers support the actions of Tsikamutandas but others are vehemently opposed to them.
One of the victims told CITE that she was given a 24-hour notice to vacate the village. She said:
I was given 24-hour notice to leave the area as I refused to entertain the witch hunters.
I ended up going after being forced and they demanded a payment of US$400. I refused to pay that amount.
She said after the incident, she was accosted by some villagers who demanded to know why she had refused to pay the Tsikamutandas.
Village head Grace Mpofu said her hands are tied over the issue, adding that people are not forced to consult the self-proclaimed witch hunters. Said Mpofu:
They came through the headman and the chief, my role was to only welcome them. If people want them, there is nothing I can do.
… I did not hear that, those are lies. If someone doesn’t want to see the self-proclaimed witch hunters they are not forced, we announced that.
Ward councillor, Johannes Sibanda confirmed the eviction threats saying it a violation of villagers’ rights. He said:
This thing is being controlled by the headman, they don’t inform me about anything but the matter is true, this is what is happening in our area.
As a councillor, I tried to reason with the headman but as it is I have been failing to get hold of him.
To me this is nonsense, I have even tried to teach people about human rights but it seems the village head is the one threatening them.
I also advised people that anyone evicted should come to me before leaving, but so far no one has been evicted, there are just threats only.
It is a punishable offense to employ a witch hunter under the Witchcraft Suppression Act Chapter 9:19. Section 5 states that:
Any person who employs or solicits any other person (a) to name or indicate any other person as a wizard or witch; or (b) to name or indicate by means of witchcraft or by application of any of the tests mentioned in the paragraph (b) of section eight or by the use of any non-natural means any person as the perpetrator of any alleged crime or other act complained of or (c) to advise him or any other person how, by means of witchcraft or by any non-natural means whatsoever, the perpetrator of any alleged or other act complained of may be discovered; shall be guilty of any offence and liable to a fine not exceeding fifty dollars or, in default of payment to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
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