By A Correspondent- Two self-styled prophets from a Zionist church in Tsholotsho and a villager from Dete in Hwange have been jailed for nine years each for stocktheft.
Promise Vundla (33) and Hawkins Sibanda (47) are the self-styled prophets from Capuka village under Chief Matupula in the Sipepa area, Tsholotsho.
The duo visited Dete where they rented a house at Ms Hazel Sibanda’s homestead in Chamasichana village under Chief Nekatambe, praying for people and would receive payment in different forms including livestock.
Vundla and Sibanda prayed for Japhet Nyathi (56) of Mphakathi village under Chief Nekatambe in Dete and he offered to pay them using a calf after they charged him US$15 for consultation.
Nyathi led the duo into a bush where he showed them a calf belonging to Mrs Cecilia Nkomo who is the complainant from Chabasichana.
The three slaughtered the calf and shared the meat.
Vundla, Sibanda and Nyathi appeared before Hwange magistrate Ms Barbara Phiri charged with stocktheft.
Vundla and Sibanda pleaded guilty and told the court that they were given the calf by Nyathi as payment for their services, but the latter pleaded not guilty saying he did not know the two.
Vundla and Sibanda told the court that they were approached by Nyathi who wanted help and they charged him US$15 consultation fee which he offered to pay using a beast.
The duo said Nyathi led them to the bush where he showed them a calf and they asked him to slaughter it before they offered him meat but he refused to take a share.
The magistrate said stocktheft is a serious offence as she sentenced each of the trio to a mandatory nine years in jail.
Prosecuting, Ms Nomusa Maseko said the offence was committed last month.
“On the 24 th day of October 2021 in the morning the complainant released her herd of cattle for grazing. In the afternoon the herd came to drink water and she discovered that one male calf was missing. She looked for it but could not locate it,” said the prosecutor.
The court was told that on the following day, Ms Nkomo searched for the calf in the bush and saw a hide and some offals, with footprints around the area which she tracked to where Vundla and Sibanda were staying.
The court was told that the complainant saw some meat hung to dry in a disused kitchen hut and identified a head and hooves which matched the missing calf valued at $30 000.
She reported the matter to the police leading to the trio’s arrest.