By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu
Business came to a standstill at the Gwanda Magistrate’s Court when a man became possessed and reportedly started crawling on the ground like a snake after he was jailed nine years for illegal possession of a python skin.
Memezi Siziba Bvute (36) of Purpose Mine Compound in Esigodini area became a spectacle on Monday around 5PM as he imitated the characteristics and movement of a snake just outside a court room he appeared in.
After the entertaining display he sat on the ground like a possessed person. When B-Metro arrived at the scene, prison officers were trying to calm him down but their efforts were in vain as he kept lashing out violently. The crew observed some marks on the ground which indicated that someone had been moving on the ground.
Prison officers had to carry Bvute, who was still lashing out, to a secluded place to calm him down.
Witnesses said Bvute started acting strangely soon after the magistrate passed his sentence.
“He left the court room in the company of prison officers and when they had walked a few metres he fell on the ground. He started crawling on the ground like a snake and making the same movements which a snake makes. At one time he stopped and lifted his head in the air just like a snake and even hit his head against a pole. He even climbed up a small slab just like a snake would do.“We were all watching in disbelief and no one had the courage to intervene at first.
“One prison officer gained the courage, approached the man and pulled his leg which caused him to stop and he then lay flat on the ground. They helped him to sit up but he was still possessed. This man started acting strangely the moment the magistrate passed his sentence,” said a witness who preferred anonymity.
Bvute was convicted on his own plea of guilty to illegal possession of the skin of a specially protected animal (python snake) by Gwanda regional magistrate, Mark Dzira. He was sentenced to an effective nine-month jail term.
In mitigation Bvute said he was given the python skin by his late uncle, Vanzeve who instructed him to place it under his pillow where he sleeps as it was for his protection.
Prosecuting, Pernson Chekeya said Bvute was found in possession of the skin on November 17.
“On 17 November police officers from Esigodini were conducting patrols and carrying out a stop and search when they arrived at Purpose Mine. They went to Bvute’s house and told him that they wanted to search his premises and he complied.
“They found a python skin about 2,7 metres long under his bed. The police asked Bvute to produce a permit or licence which authorised him to possess the skin but he failed to produce one. He was immediately arrested,” he said.
Chekeya said the value of the skin is $1 500. B-Metro.