There was drama at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday when former Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere’s brother, Godfrey, openly wept in court and pleaded with the judges to shoot and kill him rather than to let him suffer at the mercy of his sibling.
Godfrey accused his brother of causing untold suffering to the Chigwedere clan.
He told the full ConCourt bench, led by Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, that his brother, Aeneas, had allegedly caused deaths in the family. Godfrey wanted the court to grant the family an order to have the Chigwedere clan exorcised of alleged goblins.
“My family has been wiped out by this man (Aeneas). He has killed all my family members. If you have a gun, you can go ahead and shoot me now. I would rather die because of this man,” Godfrey said, while pointing his fingers at the former Mashonaland East governor, who apparently was chuckling with one of his sons, while his brother was addressing the court and weeping.
However, the court failed to entertain the matter on merit after Chigwedere’s lawyer, Tendai Masawi, raised preliminary points, urging the court to dismiss the application that was filed by Chigwedere’s son, Mangwiza.
Masawi said Mangwiza had not brought the matter properly before the court. The same case was still pending at the High Court, an assertion Mangwiza dismissed as false.
Masawi also said Mangwiza’s draft order was seeking to compel the court to issue an order that could not be enforced.
Masawi’s submissions also found favour with the court, which agreed that the ConCourt was not in a position to grant an order compelling the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association (Zinatha) to conduct an exorcising ceremony and capture goblins at Chigwedere’s homestead.
“What we are simply saying to you is that the type of relief you are seeking before this court cannot be granted … assuming that you go through the correct procedure and bring this matter back to this court.
“We are saying you need to see the problems you are likely to face, this type of relief you are seeking cannot be enforced and as such this court cannot grant an order, which cannot be enforced,” Justice Gwaunza said in concurrence with other judges.
In his draft order, Mangwiza had requested the court to also order the messenger of court to assist Zinatha, Traditional Medical Practitioners’ Council and the Zimbabwe National Practitioners’ Association to provide entry “to buildings and anywhere the goblins will have fled to”.
The request drew laughter, when Justice Ben Hlatshwayo asked Mangwiza how he wanted the messenger of court to assist in grabbing goblins.
“If the goblins flee into the stratosphere, do you want the messenger of court to follow them there? How does he do that? Does the messenger have the capacity to do that? This is what the court is saying, it gives an order that can be enforced,” Justice Hlatshwayo said.
In his response to the question, Mangwiza asked the court if its decision not to entertain his application on merit was not a move to legalise witchcraft. But his question was shot down by the court, which reminded him again that his relief could not be granted, as he was not properly before the court.
Mangwiza approached the court in 2016 seeking an order to compel his father, stepmother and the whole clan to undergo a cleansing ceremony to exorcise them of witchcraft activities, which he claimed were causing several deaths.