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Cops warn chiefs against witch hunter invites

By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu

Police have warned traditional leaders against inviting tsikamutandas into their communities as their activities are illegal.

File picture of Tsikamutandas operating in the Chiwundura area
File picture of Tsikamutandas operating in the Chiwundura area

Speaking to chiefs from Bulilima District at the third quarter Matabeleland South provincial crime consultative meeting held recently in Plumtree, Assistant Commissioner Ali Simbarashe Hondo, who is responsible for crime and operations in the province, said police were aware that some traditional leaders continue to invite tsikamutandas into their communities.

“As police we are aware that there are some traditional leaders who are still engaging services of tsikamutandas. Some of these traditional leaders are the people who are summoning these tsikamutandas to their villages and they go on to accommodate them in their homes.

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“We urge traditional leaders to desist from doing this because the services of tsikamutandas are illegal. They just rob people of their livestock and cause commotion and tension within communities. We appeal to traditional leaders to work with us in this cause and not against us,” said Asst Comm Hondo.

He appealed to community leaders to report to the nearest police station whenever tsikamutandas invade their areas, even when they have been invited by traditional leaders.

Police recently said they were pushing for a legal framework to ban the activities of tsikamutandas, with stiff penalties for offenders.

National anti-stock theft co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said once the legal framework was in place, police would immediately launch a blitz against the tsikamutandas.

Late last year, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe said Government does not condone witch-hunting practices that have become a nuisance.

Dr Mushohwe said Cabinet had declared such activities criminal, fraudulent and extortionist.

“Cabinet noted with much regret and concern that a significant part of traditional leaders embracing chiefs, headmen and village heads are by commission or omission condoning this evil, primitive, extortionist and illegal practice that is condemned by our national laws,” he said.

“Furthermore, the unscrupulous perpetrators and accomplices of witch-hunting have misrepresented to communities claiming that they had been permitted by the Government authorities to carry out the illegal activity.” The Chronicle