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Court grants Budiriro ‘witches’ bail

The two women accused of engaging in practices associated with witchcraft were yesterday granted US$200 bail apiece by a Mbare magistrate. Elmet Mbewe (43) and Christine Nyamupandu (33) from Landas Business Centre in Chihota appeared before Mr Reuben Mukavhi who granted them the bail. 

Suspected Budiriro witches Elmet Mbewe and Christine Nyamupanda shy away from the camera after being released at the Mbare Magistrates’ Courts in Harare yesterday
Suspected Budiriro witches Elmet Mbewe and Christine Nyamupanda shy away from the camera after being released at the Mbare Magistrates’ Courts in Harare yesterday

Mr Mukavhi remanded them to October 15 for trial. The pair is being charged alongside a self-styled prophet Alfred Mupfumbati (30) of Budirio, who stage-managed the act as a publicity stunt to earn him more followers.

They are all denying charges of contravening Section 98 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly engaging in a practice commonly associated with witchcraft.

At their previous appearance in court, the two single mothers told the court that they were not witches, but argued that they were part of a deal with Mupfumbati and an accomplice who was only identified as Samaita.

When they were caught naked with paraphernalia associated with witchcraft at Mupfambati’s shrine in Budiriro, the duo gave their names to the police as Maria Moyo and Chipo Chakadya and said they were from Gokwe.

Their trial was supposed to start yesterday after a medical examination report revealed that they were sane but was deferred to next week. Prosecutor Mr Fanuel Madanire alleges on September 11 and at around 5.30am, the pair was seen loitering at Mupfumbati’s shrine naked.

It is alleged that they were found in possession of an owl, two winnowing baskets, animal skins, a gourd, talisman and other witchcraft related items.

It was that time Mupfumbati saw them loitering stark naked at his house leading to an attack by the mob. Mupfumbati reportedly came to their rescue and gave them some red clothes to cover their naked bodies.

The matter was reported to the police leading to their arrest.

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