Groups of self-proclaimed witch-hunters popularly known as Tsikamutanda are reportedly terrorising Tsholotsho villagers and are demanding payment in the form of livestock to rid the area of goblins.
More than three groups of the witch-hunters comprising of at least six members each have reportedly been performing bizarre rituals claiming they were exorcising goblins.
Narrating the ordeal to CITE, one of the villagers from ward 2 in Xhanixhani village, Davy Ndlovu said the groups have spent three months in the area.
“They came in the area around March when the Covid-19 lockdown had already started, they have been around ward one, two, and we are hearing reports that they are now in ward 7 in areas such as Xhanixhani, Matemaganu, Ko Dlamini and Vagazini amongst other places,” said Ndlovu.
“When such people come in the area, they seek permission from the village head, so the bell is rung to alert villagers. When I tried to be vocal and ask them why they assemble people at such a critical time other villagers became defensive accusing me of trying to chase away the self-proclaimed prophets.”
Ndlovu said the witch-hunters demand payment in the form of livestock or foreign currency.
“Villagers have lost property as some have even been parting with their valuable property to pay for their services,” said Nldovu.
“Many villagers are now afraid to speak out as they fear being labelled as witches.”
Another villager, Johnson Dube said it is daylight robbery as they also have traditional healers who can assist with such issues.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) lawyer Jabulani Mhlanga said such acts are illegal in the country.
“Witchcraft Suppression Act basically says Zimbabwe does not recognise witchcraft, so what these Tsikamutandas are doing is illegal in terms of the law,” said Mhlanga.
“It is an offence in terms of the law, even the Criminal Codification and Reform Act indicates wizards as an offence, no one can force villagers to pay because whatever they are doing is not allowed.”