A SELF-PROCLAIMED witch-hunter, commonly known as tsikamutanda, got himself in trouble with the law after he allegedly used his magical powers to kill a menacing python, by pointing at it with his staff. The incident happened in Village 14, Mvuma’s Chiraya resettlement area in the Midlands Province.
Emmanuel Mazike (48) of Nyamafira Village under chief Dandawa in Karoi in Mashonaland West Province, last week appeared before the Gweru Magistrate’s Court sitting in Mvuma, facing charges of killing and possessing a specially protected animal. The reptile was valued at $2 000.
Mazike pleaded not guilty to the charge and Ms Gertrude Mayenyoso, who presided over the case, remanded him out of custody to Friday.
In his defence, Mazike contends that he did not kill the snake, but the animal died of natural causes as he simply pointed his staff at it.
"The snake died of natural causes. I didn’t kill it. What I simply did was point at it, and there is no way that could have killed it," argued Mazike.
However, the State, led by Mr Andrew Marimo, argues that the accused, a self-proclaimed witch-hunter, used his magical powers to kill the snake.
The court was told that sometime in May this year, Mazike, a well-known tsikamutanda, was approached by villagers who asked him to hunt and kill a python that had been wreaking havoc in the area, killing villagers’ livestock.
Mazike is alleged to have agreed to perform the task and called the villagers to gather at an area where they hold village meetings.
While gathered at the spot, Mazike is alleged to have magically summoned the snake by whistling and the reptile emerged from a nearby bush.
When the snake emerged, the court heard, Mazike pointed at the reptile with his staff, causing the snake to die instantly, much to the awe of the small group of villagers who were present.
Mazike is alleged to have collected the snake and put it in his bag before he conducted a cleansing ritual of the area. However, an unidentified villager who claimed to be the owner of the snake rushed to a nearby police post and reported the matter.
Police acted on the report and found Mazike still conducting rituals at the scene of the crime and in possession of the reptile which he allegedly intended to skin.
He was immediately arrested and the reptile and his staff were recovered and are being used as evidence.