Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire has threatened to unleash Zanu PF youths on witch hunters who were allegedly terrorising villagers in Marondera.
The tsikamutandas, as the witch hunters are popularly known, were moving from village to village allegedly removing goblins and exposing witches. Those accused of witchcraft were being forced to pay the witch hunters cattle.
They have been wreaking havoc in Igava in Marondera East, where several villagers lost their properties to their alleged witchcraft sins.
Mavhaire, who was speaking at a field day in Igava this week, accused police of failing to rein in the tsikamutandas.
He threatened to put the law into the hands of the youth wing of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party. Mavhaire is a Zanu PF politburo member.
“The police, you are failing your duty to arrest these tsikamutandas who dupe people out of their money and livestock,” said Mavhaire.
He said police should perform their duties by chasing away the traditional healers.
“Why are the police officers failing to do away with these tsikamutandas? If we engage our youths to chase them away people will start saying that we are violent,” Mavhaire added.
However, Mavhaire’s comments ruffled the feathers of some traditional leaders who invite tsikamutandas to their areas or approve the witch hunting antics.
Tsikamutandas usually move in the rural areas claiming to be healers and saying they have supernatural powers to remove goblins.
Gashirai Maposa, an elderly villager in Masikana in Marondera, said the tsikamutandas should be banned as they were dividing communities.
“These tsikamutandas came here a few months ago and accused me of being a witch. All my children are now avoiding me and they are no longer coming to visit me as they were told I am the cause of their mishaps in life,” he said.
Other villagers, however, supported the tsikamutandas saying they were ridding villages of witchcraft which was causing deaths.