Police launch blitz on tsikamutandas

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Police in Zvishavane have launched a blitz to arrest self-proclaimed witch-hunters also known as tsikamutandas who are reportedly terrorising villagers.

Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Patrick Chademana told NewsDay the police blitz had so far netted Edison Mandara and vowed they would leave no stone unturned in their search for the alleged witch-hunters.

The tsikamutandas have reportedly wreaked havoc in Zvishavane where they allegedly demand cattle and huge amounts of cash from villagers as payment for their cleansing services.

The witch-hunters claimed they had the powers to cleanse the area of witches and wizards.

“Tsikamutanda’s operations are clandestine. Investigations proved they could charge villagers beasts for their cleansing services but would not take them. Villagers would drive their cattle to the cleansing venues where buyers would come. The cattle are bought from the original owners who make efforts to clear them but the money goes to the witch-hunters. Police had a torrid time as villagers and the traditional leaders in the area are against the arrest of witch-hunters and could assist tsikamutandas to evade arrest,” said Chademana.

Chief Simon Masunda is alleged to have authorised the witch-hunting operations in his area.

The traditional leader could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) president, Gordon Chavunduka, yesterday described the tsikamutandas’ activities as illegal, adding they must be flushed out as a matter of urgency.

“We do not know them. They are not registered with us. They must be flushed out. We are yet to meet Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri over the issue. But we heard police are already apprehending them,” said Chavunduka.

He said cleansing activities are a preserve of registered healers only in accordance with Zinatha guide-lines and country’s laws.

“Even those said to be registered must be investigated to establish where they were registered especially with the Zinatha offices,” he said.