Being possessed is not a crime — ‘witches’

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THE two suspected witches who were arrested in Budiriro last week yesterday filed an urgent bail application at the High Court, in search for freedom.

JOHN NYASHANU

The two said they would not plead guilty to witchcraft, but only to being possessed by supernatural powers which was not a crime.

If it were an act of criminality, they said, then all church pastors, bishops and priests who work miracles, possessed by spirits beyond their control, would also be committing offences daily.

The lawyer representing Maria Moyo (30) and Chipo Chakaja (26), Tawanda Takaindisa of Mugiya Macharaga Law Chambers argued in the application that the two were worthy candidates for bail as they were unlikely to abscond, interfere with witnesses or commit further offences.

The two were last week remanded in custody by a Mbare magistrate under the Mental Health Act with orders that they be examined by medical practitioners to establish their mental status.

Takaindisa’s attempt to have them granted bail on Tuesday hit a snag as provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavhi dismissed the application.
In his latest bid yesterday, Takaidza said: “Applicants submit that if released from custody on bail they will not abscond to avoid trial. In particular they are family women and have a fixed address in Nembudziya, Gokwe.”

He further argued that if suspects facing more serious allegations such as treason which MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai faced in 2003 had been granted bail, it was only logical that the pair should expect to be freed on bail.

“Though admittedly witchcraft in terms of our African customs is a very serious offence, it is humbly submitted that the seriousness of the offence per se is not a good enough reason for denying bail, for bail has been granted in some of the most serious offenses like treason (faced by Tsvangirai in 2003),” he said.

The lawyer went on to say his clients would plead “not guilty”, to the charge of engaging in a practice commonly associated with witchcraft, but would admit that they were possessed by supernatural powers, which was not a crime.

Moyo and Chakaja were arrested last Wednesday morning in Budiriro where they were found sitting inside winnowing baskets, naked, save for their undergarments and in possession of such items as a live owl, a baboon hand and other things usually associated with witchcraft.

Their presence triggered pandemonium in the suburb as residents stampeded to catch a glimpse of the rare spectacle.

They are expected to appear in court on September 26 for trial.

58 COMMENTS

  1. I know of another witch on Mitchell Road in Greendale. Lets trap that witch to prove that this phenomenon is amongst us, not just rural areas.

  2. In Europe they used to burn witches alive, hang them, or cut their heads off. In modern times it is now legal in Europe to practice whitchcraft, as long as you don’t harm people or animals while doing the rituals.

  3. The religion of Wicca is also legal in may parts of the world, though I don’t think it’s about harming people, it’s more like the traditional African religions (spirits, ancestors, healers).

  4. they are crookes not witches that is a scarm between those women and the prophert.The prophert must be arrested he is a conman

  5. The witches are innocent, they are the victims of demonic spirits. What is needed is for true prophets to deliver them from the witchcraft bondage. Many people are possessed by various spirits ranging from the spirits of lust, robbery, prostitution, anger, greediness, stingy etc.

    • Muporofita uyo itsotsi ngaasungwe we know the story from Chihota kwa Landers uko nepakatorwa mazizi acho panozikanwa ,they are crooks not witches .Mhosva yemuporofita conman .

      • @Gutu

        I agree with you. I was shocked over the weekend when I heard in a phone-in Radio Zimbabwe programme about how the whole thing was planned. It’s a pity a number of people fell for the trick.

  6. Vatorei muende paGokwe Centre paStand yeZ.C.C. vabatsirwe zvavanazvo zvipiswe vatange kurarama upenyu hutsva. Vanoramba vakadaro mukasavabatsira vanhu huroyi Mweya unobviswawo neMweya kwete nejere.

    • For what? For being retarded and for being taken advantage of by a conman? Obviously that were dressed up, given props, then the fake drama started…. causing commotion.

      Can’t you see this is nothing more than what someone in a Nigerian movie does, dressing up, behaving like witches etc….. it’s fake.

  7. @Chihota you r spot on. If they are true witches they must escape from prison at night using the so callled powers.
    Prophet wants to make himself popular so that gullible people can flock to his house for ‘help” Then he can make a killing!!

  8. I am looking for a witch to carry me to Durban on a broom stick or in a basket – at least I wont need to pay for petrol.

    • Didn’t know we had so intelligent lawyers and judges who are good in witchcraft. We Economists missed that module to quickly resolve so many of poverty challenges. And who ever put in place such a law criminalizing what? From the first day, I said to myself FAKE criminals or a Play to make us buy newspapers after drying up of news after elections. Whatever the case, poor people are engulfed in fantacies, tricks etc.

  9. These are simply victims of the devious character of the pseudo prophets that have sprouted in our lovely mother country,who simply want to prey on our people facing a myriad of problems such as diseases and unemployment so that they can flock to those so-called prophets to get panaceas to the problems bedevelling them thereby enriching those prophets.If these people are said to be witches,is it a crime to be a witch?If so,how can one prove it?The old latino adage says nullum crimen sine lege meaning no crime without law prohibiting it.As far as i know there is a statute that outlaws witchcraft in Zimbabwe but it lacks on the part of proving it thus its as good as not there thus there is nullum crimen sine lege hence those people ought to be released soonest.

  10. C’mon good lawyer, will your thieving clients plead guilty to being possessed by thieving spirits, and not theft; and accused rapists plead guilty to being possessed by lustful spirits? I suggest you reserve your arguments for sentencing whereupon you shall list such under extenuating circumstances. It also looks suspicious that you cite cases that with no direct relevance and precedence to the matter in casu, like pulling out treason during a witchcraft trial to buttress weak arguments.

  11. C’mon good lawyer, will your thieving clients plead guilty to being possessed by thieving spirits, and not theft; and accused rapists plead guilty to being possessed by lustful spirits? I suggest you reserve your arguments for sentencing whereupon you shall list such under extenuating circumstances. It also looks suspicious that you cite cases that have no direct relevance and precedence to the matter in casu, like pulling out treason during a witchcraft trial to buttress weak arguments.

  12. heroka basa minister of jenda and womens affairs where art thou in this? surely varume hamungadani dare rokutonga nyaya dzemhando iyi in a modern world where manipulation exploitation of particularly women is the order of modern day. ko mapurisa press conference yeku develop nyaya yavasungwa ava riinhi mati mazadza docketi here?

  13. Muroyi ngaiswe kwa vashe anotongwa kwete na magistrate they are real witches no conmen theory here in zaka we are used to that but gokwe yatora mukombe wekurowa

  14. The problem with this case is that we have two unknowns. Witchcraft is an unknown in modern courts, so is the genuineness of these ‘prophets’.therefore there is no evidence in the true sense of the word and there is the possibility of victimising innocent individuals, therefore i reserve my judgement.

  15. The accused flew their Basket without a licence from IATA and CAAZ.
    The failed to land at an Airport But decided to land at someone’s Homestead

  16. it may be logical , but my argument wud be, are thoz Pastors who they claim to b posesd perform ill acts meant to harm others? do they do thoz acts at night ? the Pastors perform their spiritual activities in public, not naked, to help, following th biblical teachings, which book are the witches practising that toks abt their possessions ?

  17. hapana hapana we don need them in our communities….being nake indicates a sign of witchcraft in this scenario…everything they dd was jus so witchy….apa deliverance should be done varimujeri.. ko mbavha nayo iri possessed ka..same fanane…stret to prison wth no early paroll

  18. haaa va prosecutor mbatatisi mandikona sure ngavasunge nemutemo weku tyaira mu mhepo vasina licence,the spirit world got advanced technology we need to pray nyika yaminama

  19. If the story of the false prophet mentioned is true i think at this point everything has blown out of proportion and these woman shld ve mentioned it to clear themselves in the court.

  20. Is the learned lawyer saying one can steal and raise the defence that he was possessed by the spirit of theft and get away with it?

  21. Haa, nhai Tawanda, you say when released on bail they wont comit further crimes? How do we know this since these guys vakabatwa ne ma super natural powers which cause them do things beyond their control? ngavombomira vari mukati! lol

  22. Vanhuwe,lets take it like this.The two ladies disappeared from their sleeping huts, without anyone noticing,then supernaturally landed in a place 400 km away right.Why cant they perform the same wanders and land back at their place of origin?Were they not drugged and transported physically?

  23. Yo feeble speculations are far off the mark people. Witch craft is a Godly science far more fulfilling than celebrating Christmas or visiting Mecca. Be seized with ‘forces’ that drive the engineless baskets than take marvel at Bev and the bottle acts. Try reciting the Lord’s prayer backwards, drink dish water with a read straw and hold your breath just long enough to spell ‘natas’ and enjoy.

  24. Noone is answering the question of who is payin the lawyer are they paying themselves or the lawyer is it the organazation for the witches

  25. Noone is answering the question of who is payin the lawyer are they paying themselves or is it the organazation for the witches

  26. The truth must be known about this case. We thank you for all the follow-ups because nyaya iyi yanyadzisa nzvimbo yevamwe – Gokwe.

  27. I am tempted to agree with those who are saying this is the work of a fake prophet doing some marketing to exploit the gullible. A witch caught around 7 in the morning still on her way to the victim?

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