Most cases go unreported since these prophets are invited by community leaders and the complainants are afraid of victimisation.
“In November 2016, in Chief Chikuku, Marange, a self-styled prophet demanded three cattle, six goats and US$90 and the complainant reported the case, which led to the arrest of the accused person.
“In a similar occurrence, in Odzi at Whilton Farm accused person charged two beasts and two goats and after the ceremony, he demanded five more beasts and four more goats. The complainant refused to bow to the new demands and reported the matter to the police.
“It is an offence under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 section 99 (1) for any person to groundlessly or by the purported use of non-natural means accuse another person of witchcraft.
“The police would like to urge members of the public not to part with their hard earned property by enlisting the services of these self-styled prophets,” said Snr Ass-Comm Charamba.
One of the villagers told H-Metro that the Tsikamutanda moved with live snakes he places in people’s homes and later accused house owners of possessing the snakes in order to get away with their beasts.
“We are worried with these tsikamutandas moving around in villages taking people’s wealth after accusing them of practicing witchcraft,” said the villager.
“The snakes belong to tsikamutanda but they are fooling our elders and threatening them that if they do not pay with beasts they would face serious problems.
“What is more disturbing is that they first convince village heads promising them part of the loot to get permission to carry their cleansing ceremonies.
“Elderly people with beasts are major victims followed by some villagers who are good farmers since their efforts in working is taken as witchcraft.
“Chembere dzakashungurudzwa nanatsikamutanda vanhu vachiuchira idzo dzirinyoka dzavo, and what is disturbing is how these false prophets are getting these tamed snakes,” said one of the villagers.
Among the humiliated elderly people are Gogo Mvotai, Gogo Mutede and Sekuru Mutanguro along with Mai Mvotai of Maanhu village.
Snr Ass Comm Charamba also confirmed similar incidents in Tsholotsho and Gokwe.
“In a case which occurred in Senga Bridge area, Chief Jiri, Gokwe, a villager was given a concoction to drink as part of the cleansing process and he died thirty minutes later after developing stomach pains,” added Snr Ass-Comm Charamba.
During the same month, some villagers in Tsholotsho were asked to pay US$2 each by the self-styled prophets for a cleansing ceremony, and one of the villagers refused and reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of the accused person,” she said.