By Tendai Chara
Amid the swearing, screaming and cursing, a convicted armed robber is whisked away to the holding cells by prison guards.
In no uncertain terms, the convict bluntly threatens the magistrate, yelling that he is a son of a traditional healer and that sinister things are going to befall him.
A few days after the threat, the magistrate gets involved in a serious road traffic accident.
Those that were at the court wondered whether this was mere coincidence. Fingers were pointed at the convicted robber as the source of the misfortune.
Although incidents in which court officials were threatened and later encountered mishaps are not as common as dirt, some people believe that juju can be used to influence court processes and rulings.
In Zimbabwe, it is common for people that will be set to appear in court — both as complainants and as accused persons — to consult both traditional and faith healers prior to court appearances. Sections of the Zimbabwe populace believe that both juju and anointed water can be used to influence court rulings.
As a result of these beliefs, some accused persons often appear in court with portions of juju. Cases in which court officials were reportedly exposed to juju are well-documented.
In a widely reported incident, a Chinhoyi regional magistrate allegedly “got stuck” to his crown chair and suffered a temporary black-out in a suspected case of juju.
The magistrate was set to deliver a judgement against a man who was accused of rape.
In another related case, a Chipinge magistrate died on duty in a case in which the suspected use of juju cropped up.
In 2018 and again in Chipinge, court proceedings came to a halt when a man who was about to be sentenced for stock theft produced juju in court.
Magistrate Mr Farai Gwatima was not amused by Taurai Sithole’s antics and ordered prison officers to destroy the juju.
“With or without juju, you will go to jail,” he said, before sentencing Sithole to nine years in prison.
But can juju influence court proceedings and rulings?
Basing on the increasing number of prophets and traditional healers that are placing advertisements in which they are claiming to possess powers that enable accused persons to win court cases, it appears this belief has a growing list of ready takers.
Both traditional and faith healers are claiming that they possess mysterious powers that can influence court decisions.
Madzibaba Gamba (Martin Madzura), a well-known faith healer, said both juju and anointed water can help accused persons in their bids for freedom.
“Certain rituals can be conducted, which makes it possible for accused persons to get bail, have their sentences reduced or to have their cases dismissed.
“Some might think that what I am saying is fictitious but there are cases in which even dangerous criminals who should rot in jail are released after they would have consulted faith healers,” Madzibaba Gamba said.
Gogo Mamoyo, a traditional healer who occasionally places advertisements in the local press, also claims to have magical powers that can help influence court decisions.
“I can help accused persons who would have been denied bail or those that will be seeking to have their cases swept under the carpet. We also help accused persons get light sentences,” she said.
Both Madzibaba Gamba and Gogo Mamoyo refused to go into the finer details of how the rituals are conducted.
“This is my secret. All you need to know is that court cases can also be fought in the spiritual realm,” Madzibaba Gamba said. Sunday Mail.