A Zimbabwean magistrate has called in witchcraft experts after a Murehwa (Town 100kms out of Harare) woman found NAKED outside her brother-in-law’s house in Harare claimed she FLEW there in a winnowing basket with two others on a mission to kill him. The woman was seen by passers-by outside the house wearing “red headgear” and “some black strings around the waist” just after 6AM on Sunday.
Dozens of people soon gathered, some throwing stones at her until the brother-in-law she was on a mission to kill RESCUED her from the mob. After admitting to a charge of public indecency for public nudity, prosecutors recommended that the woman be given a non-custodial sentence. Prosecutors say the woman will now be a state witness in a future prosecution of her father-in-law and aunt whom she claims “flew her” to Harare on the mission to kill her brother-in-law.
The woman claims the trio “took off” from a cemetery in Murehwa in the dead of the night, but once they got to Harare, she balked when asked to carry out the killing. Her father-in-law and aunt then FLEW OFF in anger, leaving her stranded at the property. Refusing to take chances, a Harare magistrate said the woman should be remanded in custody just in case she “flies back to Murehwa”.
The magistrate then warned the prison officers: “If she escapes, the Prison Service should explain.” Experts from the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) were expected in court on Thursday to provide guidance on the bizarre case which is set to reignite a national debate on witchcraft. The magistrate said: "This narration is a bit of a novel situation and we need guidance from the experts to clarify certain issues. We cannot solve it on our own. She insists that she magically flew from Murehwa to Harare and if we release her on bail, she might fly back to Murehwa”.
The practice of witchcraft is illegal in Zimbabwe after witchcraft laws were changed in 2006. Under the colonial-era laws that existed before then, it was a crime to accuse anyone of practising witchcraft. New laws say anyone accusing another individual of witchcraft must show proof of their allegations. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act 2004 says judicial officers can rely on expert evidence “as to whether the practice that forms the subject of a charge… is a practice that is commonly associated with witchcraft.” Prosecutors have vowed they are determined to charge the father-in-law and aunt with practising witchcraft in what would be a test case for the country’s witchcraft legislation.
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