In a bizarre turn of events, two self-proclaimed traditional healers, commonly referred to as Tsikamutandas, found themselves in a precarious situation when their attempt to deceive a Kwekwe family backfired dramatically. Their ill-conceived plan involved planting a live python behind the family’s wardrobe, but their actions were promptly uncovered.
Adding to the suspicion surrounding the authenticity of these traditional healers, one of them unexpectedly vomited beer during a supposed cleansing ceremony. This incident further raised doubts among the family members, who began questioning the genuineness of the healers.
Left with no choice, the family decided to report the matter to the police, leading to the subsequent arrest of the two individuals involved. Tinashe Mataga (38) and Freedom Phiri (30) were taken into custody and later revealed that Elias Magumise (32) had supplied them with the python used in their misguided scheme.
The trio appeared before Kwekwe Magistrate Ms Mildred Matuvi, facing charges related to the unlawful removal of animal parts, as stipulated by the Parks and Wildlife Act Chapter 20:14. Each of them was released on bail amounting to $150,000.
According to the prosecution, the incident unfolded on June 1, 2023, when Nakai Gono (72) of Mbizo 18 in Mbizo fell ill. In an effort to find a solution, her daughter, Stella Ziya (45), sought the assistance of the self-proclaimed traditional healers, who claimed that a cleansing ritual was necessary for the homestead.
The court heard that Mataga and Phiri approached Magumise, who provided them with a live python to be planted at the family’s residence, creating the illusion of a successful cleansing. As part of the process, Ziya was instructed to fetch water and salt, supposedly for the purpose of dispelling the presumed negative energy affecting her ailing mother.
Upon Ziya’s return, she made a startling discovery. The two traditional healers were caught red-handed, removing a python from their satchel and surreptitiously placing it behind the wardrobe. This suspicious act raised even more doubts about their credibility, particularly when one of them unexpectedly regurgitated beer during the supposed prayer session.
Prompted by these alarming developments, Ziya decided to report the incident to the police, leading to the arrest of Mataga and Phiri. Subsequently, the two individuals implicated Magumise in their statements to the authorities.
The approximately three-meter-long python has been handed over to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks) for proper handling and care.
Representing the State in this peculiar case was Ms Ethel Bhumure.