Police deny involvement in witch-hunters’ scam


Police in the Midlands Province have denied allegations that they were involved in clearing cattle paid to self-styled traditional healers, commonly known as tsikamutanda by villagers in Zvishavane.

The tsikamutanda were reportedly swindling villagers of their livestock and valuable property through their cleansing ceremonies.

In a telephone interview on Monday, Midlands police spokesperson, Inspector Patrick Chademana, denied allegations that police were involved in tsikamutanda activities.

“It is not true that police are clearing cattle used in tsikamutanda activities. I am actually being informed by you for the first time. As far as we are concerned, such activities are illegal and as police, we discourage villagers from engaging in them,” he said.

“If it is true that police are involved in such activities, I am not aware of it, I will have to find out from the district police.”

Headman Samuel Venge Shiku, kraal heads Munikwa, Boilous Shonhayi Chimamiwa, John Mafuma Mafurire and some villagers on Friday confirmed tsikamutanda, namely Gaurani, Maguranyanga and Ngwenya were claiming to be cleansing Zvishavane villages of witchcraft and evil spells for a fee since last year.

They said the cleansing services were conducted through the blessing of Chief Simon Masunda and police in the province legitimised the activities by clearing cattle and goats used by villagers to pay the witch-hunters.

Shiku said as traditional leaders and villagers they were satisfied with the tsikamutanda operations in the area. He said they started operating in Masunda area last year and had since moved into Shiku area under his jurisdiction.

He said Ngwenya and Gaurani had moved from Masunda and Shiku areas, and only Maguranyanga was still operating in Shiku.

Investigations established that over 200 cattle have been cleared from the areas after villagers used them to pay tsikamutanda for cleansing services since October last year.

The “witches” and “wizards” are charged two beasts each for exorcism while their victims are charged a beast or less depending on the level of affliction.

As of last week Maguranyanga was operating at Tom Chivi’s area fom an abandoned homestead in headman Shiku’s jurisdiction.