FORMER Bulawayo apostolic sect leader and self-styled prophet Thabiso Ngwenya, who was stripped of his government issued certificate to practice as a prophet in 2012, has resurfaced as a sangoma in Shurugwi under Chief Ndanga.
Ngwenya, once a very popular prophet in Bulawayo, and his team are conducting spiritual cleansing in all villages under Chief Ndanga and are currently based in Ruchanyu village. Ngwenya is alleged to have been given permission by the local chief who wants to cleanse his territory of "evil".
When our news crew visited Ngwenya's shrine at Village Five in Ruchanyu, scores of dejected villagers were gathered waiting to be exorcised by the diviner who is now going by the name of Booster.
Ngwenya refused to talk to reporters and threatened to cast a spell on the paper for questioning his practice and new role as a sangoma.
"Get away from here before you regret . . . I have the powers to cause doom upon you," Ngwenya said.
Ngwenya, who donned traditional attire with a feather hat and animal hide breastplate and knobkerrie, is allegedly fleecing villagers of cash and livestock they pay as fines after accusing them of possessing goblins. A village head John Kwashira accused Ngwenya and his team of using trickery like planting fake goblins in huts and granaries to deceive his unsuspecting subjects.
"Although Booster (Ngwenya) alleges to have permission from the chief, he is looting us and deceives us by planting fake goblins in our granaries and huts before demanding cash or livestock," Kwashira said.
Normore Chatsauka of Row village said what angered the villagers most was that the police actually cleared cattle demanded by the self-styled exorcist.
"Police will be around clearing cattle fleeced from us," Chatsauka said.
According to the Traditional Medical Practitioners' Council Midlands chairperson and Zimbabwe National Practitioners' Association vice-president Fanuel Nyashanu, it is a crime for a deregistered person to operate as a diviner, sangoma or prophet.
"It is illegal for anyone to act as a spiritualist or traditional doctor without a licence and as far as I know, we as a council deregistered Ngwenya. He must be arrested with immediate effect," Nyashanu said.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko said they would investigate the matter as such practices were illegal and tantamount to extortion.
"Police will investigate the matter and if the findings are true, Ngwenya is likely to be charged with extortion," Goko said.
Ngwenya was the leader of the 12th Apostolic Church and was chased away from his Nkulumane 11 shrine two years ago.
He then operated at his Pumula residence before disappearing from the City of Kings.