By A Correspondent| In a peculiar turn of events, two self-proclaimed traditional healers, commonly referred to as Tsikamutandas, found their attempt to deceive a family in Kwekwe take an unexpected and disastrous twist. Their fraudulent activities were unveiled when they were caught red-handed attempting to secretly place a live python behind a wardrobe in the family’s home.
To make matters worse for the charlatans, one of them regurgitated beer during a supposed cleansing ceremony, intensifying the suspicions of the astute family who doubted the authenticity of these traditional healers.
The family wasted no time in reporting the incident to the authorities, leading to the subsequent arrest of the two impostors. Tinashe Mataga, aged 38, and Freedom Phiri, aged 30, were taken into custody and later revealed that Elias Magumise, aged 32, had provided them with the reptile used in their deceitful act.
Appearing before Kwekwe Magistrate Ms Mildred Matuvi, the trio faced charges under the Parks and Wildlife Act Chapter 20:14, specifically for the unlawful removal of animal parts from any land. They were each granted bail of $150,000.
According to official documents, on June 1, 2023, Nakai Gono, a 72-year-old resident of Mbizo 18 in Mbizo, fell ill, prompting her daughter, Stella Ziya, aged 45, to seek the assistance of traditional healers who claimed expertise in purifying homes.
The court proceedings revealed that Mataga and Phiri approached Magumise, who supplied them with a live python. The plan was to surreptitiously place the snake at the Gono residence, creating an illusion of cleansing having taken place.
During the ritual, Ziya was instructed to retrieve water and salt, which would supposedly be used to dispel the “object” responsible for her mother’s illness. Upon her return, Ziya noticed the two fraudsters retrieving a python from their bag and discreetly planting it behind the wardrobe.
The suspicions surrounding the traditional healers heightened when one of them unexpectedly vomited beer during the prayer session, leaving Ziya even more skeptical of their actions. Promptly recognizing the gravity of the situation, she promptly reported the incident to the police, resulting in the arrest of Mataga and Phiri, who subsequently implicated Magumise.
The approximately three-meter-long python has been handed over to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks) for appropriate handling.
Representing the state in the case was Ms Ethel Bhumure.