TWELVE traditional leaders from Chikomba district in Chivhu have banned the operations of witch-hunters, popularly known as tsikamutandas, in their area with immediate effect.
By Jairos Saunyama,Own Correspondent
The move came after a number of villagers lost their cattle and other valuable property to the witch-hunters.
The leaders — five chiefs and seven headmen — have since notified the police about the ban.
“This letter serves to inform you that traditional leaders from Chikomba District have banned the operations of tsikamutandas in Chikomba District with immediate effect . . .” read part of the letter addressed to the Officer-in-Charge Sadza Police Station.
The letter was signed by Chiefs Mtekedza, Musarurwa, Chivese, Neshangwe, Nyoka and Headmen Mhurushomana, Chandiwana, Munyimi, Tambaoga, Hokonya, Mukandatsama and Kwenda.
Mashonaland East province police spokesperson Inspector Bulisani Bhebhe confirmed the development and said police were teaming up with the traditional leaders to eliminate witch-hunters who have invaded the province.
“The police in Mashonaland East province would like to commend the chiefs and headmen from Chikomba District for their recent proclamation to help stop all activities by tsikamutandas within their district,” Bhebhe said.
“The unanimous agreement was reached after it was noted that these witch-hunters were coercing the villagers to partake in the alleged cleansing rituals as a way to extort cattle and other valuables from the community.
“More so this is clearly contrary to cultural and statutory regulations where affected persons visit the witchdoctor and not the other way round.”
He added that police were going to arrest the witch-hunters on sight.
“As police, we similarly declare zero tolerance against witch-hunters who masquerade as tsikamutandas. We will ensure that these witch-hunters are arrested upon sight. We, therefore, appeal to the public to report to their nearest police station any incident relating to witch-hunters,” he said.