A 106 year-old traditional healer on Monday appeared in court for extortion after he allegedly threatened the family of late businesswoman, Precious Nyakujara, with death if it did not return the goblins he claimed to have given the now deceased.
Precious who died in August last year was well-known in the capital as a foreign currency dealer.
Elias Godknows Zinyemba appeared before Harare magistrate Shane Kubonera charged with extortion.
Zinyemba appeared together with his daughter Pamela Zinyemba and his nephew Newlife Magona.
It is alleged that in November last year, the trio together with Artwell Magona and Elton Dickson connived and wrote a letter which they addressed to the late businesswoman.
The letter was taken to the late Nyakujara’s residence in Glen Lorne and was received by her husband John Mukorera.
It is further alleged Mukorera, after reading the letter, which purported to invite his late wife to Zinyemba’s shrine, advised his mother-in-law Josephine Edith Nyakujara.
She came to the house and after reading the letter, she allegedly spoke to Magona, the messenger who had brought the letter.
He claimed he had been sent by his uncle Zinyemba.
On November 24, 2021, Mukorera and his mother-in-law and his cousin Brian Goto went to Zinyemba’s shrine in Musekiwa village in Bindura escorted by Magona.
On arrival, Zinyemba took them into his shrine where he started speaking as if he was in a trance.
He allegedly told them he had given the late Precious some goblins, which had helped her succeed in her business.
He also claimed he had seen that she had passed away and the goblins now had no one to take care of them.
Zinyemba claimed since the sangoma, it was not looking good for the family left behind by Precious.
And, to emphasise his point, he allegedly said a number of the family members would die if no action was taken to appease the goblins.
Josephine, as the mother of the late Precious, was allegedly asked to inherit the goblins, a proposal which she turned down.
Zinyemba allegedly went on to claim that he had agreed with the deceased that whenever the goblins were to be returned, there was supposed to be a payment of 40 cattle, a house in Harare and a car.
Josephine allegedly begged for a downward review of the payment and they negotiated until they agreed on US$5 000 and a motor vehicle.
Zinyemba is alleged to have ordered his daughter, who was his interpreter to tie a cloth around Josephine’s waist and told her that it would only be removed after full payment of his demands.
Zinyemba then gave Josephine two representatives who accompanied her to her late daughter’s house, where they performed some rituals to remove the goblins.
After the rituals she allegedly paid them US$7 000 in the presence of her son-in-law Mukorera and Goto and the cloth was untied from her waist.
Josephine later informed her uncle Douglas Chiendambuya of the incident and they arranged to meet at a local hotel.
At that meeting, Chiendambuya was accompanied by Justice Muzungu who narrated how he had gone through the same ordeal with Zinyemba after his father’s death.
Muzungu told her that he had not paid them after realising inconsistencies in their statements.
Josephine then decided to make a police report for extortion. Zinyemba and his alleged accomplices were remanded to January 20.
The late Precious was in court last year where she was acquitted of a $13 million fraud case.
Marian Furidze appeared for the State.