Chigwedere witchcraft saga takes new twist

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HARARE – Former Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere’s witchcraft saga has taken a dramatic twist, with his son Mangwiza saying delays in hearing the case will result in more deaths at the hands of his father.

Mangwiza accuses his father of bewitching and killing family members.

His concerns come after the Constitutional Court (Con-Court) yesterday deferred the hearing of the case indefinitely to allow some of the respondents to be served court papers.

Mangwiza dragged his father and stepmother Emilia Zharare to court seeking an order allowing them to undergo a cleansing ceremony to exorcise the whole clan against alleged witchcraft activities that have allegedly caused several deaths in the family.

Yesterday, the court noted that out of 32 respondents, only 28 had been served court papers while only eight managed to attend the hearing.

Leading the Con-Court bench, Elizabeth Gwaunza said there was no way the court could proceed to hear the matter under the circumstances. The court said in terms of rules, other respondents were supposed to be served by the deputy sheriff and attend the hearing.

However, Mangwiza blamed the deputy sheriff for the hiccup, demanding the long-standing matter to proceed.

“So you are saying we should perish because the sheriff has not served the other respondents?” he queried, before the court clarified the rule and postponed the matter indefinitely.

In terms of Sections 97 to 102 of the Criminal Law Code, the practice of witchcraft is a criminal offence, while Section 98 of the Criminal Law (Codification) and Reform Act stipulates that any person who engages in witchcraft to instil fear or harm someone will be jailed for five years or be liable to pay a fine. In his court papers, Mangwiza claims he was still convinced his father and stepmother were practising witchcraft and or sorcery, or incorrect cultural procedures that had tormented the whole clan causing deaths, misery, ill-health and mental anguish.

He said this has resulted in him and other family members to flee Wedza, but have not been spared either way.

“The right to life has been violated and with the courts even being told on paper and viva voce that we are dying. We are being killed and maimed, we have more than 10 mentally-challenged, we are being exploited through culture.

“I have undergone more than 200 cultural procedures on myself personally, which I have now discovered were uncultural acts and the basis for our ill-health, pain, headaches, suffering, anomalies, having five brothers and sisters mentally-challenged, sisters, who fail to find fecundity to bear children, sisters who fail to marry,” Mangwiza said, urging the court to intervene.

He accuses his father and stepmother of possessing elephant tasks inscribed names of living and deceased family members.

“Threat of life in our clan is imminent and many have gone six feet under, and it will continue until the intervention of the courts in the removal of that which is killing and maiming,” he said in an application that his father is opposing.

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