By Sukulwenkosi Dube
A MALAWIAN traditional healer who was fined and detained awaiting deportation yesterday took a snake he moves around with to Plumtree Prison saying he keeps it for his protection.
Patrick Hendo, 33, of Lilongwe was arrested at Plumtree Border Post for illegally staying in the country for two months.
Hendo told the court that he overstayed in the country because he was attending to his clients in various parts of the country.
He was convicted and fined $100 or 20 days imprisonment by Plumtree magistrate, Gideon Ruvetsa.
Hendo, who arrived at the courts carrying his tools of the trade, bragged that he had kept the snake with him in the police cells for two days without the knowledge of the police.
He went on to threaten some prison officers who had said they would not allow him to stay with the snake once he was under their custody.
“I carry this snake with me everywhere and when I was arrested I had it in my jacket pocket. When they put me in the police cells I left my jacket behind but I had the snake with me all the time,” said Hendo to one of the prison officers who escorted him to court.
He warned the officer that he was going to be cursed if he dared take away the snake from him.
The Chronicle news crew saw the live metre long snake which was in the pocket of Hendo’s jacket.
When the court officials finally convinced him to leave the snake behind, he removed it and put it in his travelling bag which he left outside the courtroom.
After he was convicted and fined, he took the bag with his snake to Plumtree Prison awaiting deportation and a prison guard was heard telling him that they were going to call the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officers to take the snake away.
In court, prosecuting, Elisha Mazorodze said Hendo was arrested at the Plumtree Border Post on June 2 at around 4PM while he was trying to leave the country.
He said the traditional healer entered the country through Beitbridge Border Post on April 6 and was issued with a visitor’s entry certificate valid for three days.
Mazorodze said Hendo remained in the country until June 2 without legalising his stay leading to his arrest.
“On June 2, Hendo arrived at the Plumtree Border and presented his Malawian passport to an immigration officer requesting to leave the country. Upon checking the immigration officer realised that Hendo had overstayed,” he said.
In mitigation, Hendo who has a family in Beitbridge, said he had several clients in the country.
He said a number of clients were demanding his services and he was later involved in a car accident resulting in him overstaying in the country. The Chronicle