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Headman faces stocktheft charge


A wheelchair-bound 87-year-old Beatrice headman is facing charges of stealing three cattle after presiding over an incest case which he had no jurisdiction over but allegedly ordered the defendant to pay four head of cattle.

Sometime in November last year, Mazhindu Takawira, a headman at Chester Farm, allegedly sent 11 messengers to attach four beasts from Esnath Zhakata after finding Christopher Zhakata guilty of impregnating his Niece at a village court hearing.

Chitungwiza magistrate Lazini Ncube heard that Takawira received a report of incest against Zhakata and called for a village court to sit despite him having no jurisdiction to preside over such cases.

Chief Seke Tichafa Kunaka told the police during investigations that Takawira had no jurisdiction to preside over incest matters as they were under the jurisdiction of magistrates, the court heard.

During the village court hearing Zhakata allegedly pleaded guilty to impregnating his sister’s daughter and Takawira, as the presiding officer, ruled that he had to pay four beasts, one of which was supposedly to appease the wronged ancestral spirits, the court heard.

After delivering his ruling Takawira allegedly sent 11 messengers led by Leonard Zhakata, Esnath’s brother, to execute his judgment by seizing four head of cattle, the state alleges.

The state alleges the messengers managed to attach only three beasts.

In his defence outline Takawira pleaded not guilty and told the court that he had jurisdiction to preside over incest cases as the headman of the community.

Takawira told the court that Zhakata admitted liability and as such he had an obligation to deliver a ruling and sentence in the matter and according to him there was nothing peculiar about it.

The headman told the court that he ordered Zhakata to pay a beast for termination of blood relationship (cheka ukama) and another for a ceremony in preparation of giving birth (masungiro).

The state, represented by Tendai Shonhai, alleges that although Takawira insisted he had powers to deal with the matter, he allegedly failed to produce the minutes of the village court proceedings. The trial continues next Monday.

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