The traditional court of headman Chengetai Chigodora, has been barred by the Mutare Magistrates court from forcing a man accused of witchcraft to participate in a cleansing ceremony against his religious beliefs.
A video of Tapiwa Christopher Magumbe (60) being heckled at the headman’s court went viral last week and was met with mixed reactions.
Article 60 of the country’s constitution enshrines that every citizen has, “freedom of thought, opinion, religion or belief; and freedom to practice and propagate and give expression to their thought, opinion, religion or belief, whether in public or in private,”
Magumbe from Tambawaguta village in Mutare was published on an online (Karanganda YouTube) as allegedly using juju against his family.
The complainants were two of his biological brothers, Jerome and Lionel Magumbe, and a cousin, Nhaka Magumbe who claimed to have been playing the intercessory role between the brothers.
Irked by the violation of freedom of worship under headman Chigodora, where the accused was shamed on allegations of practicing witchcraft against his brothers, Magumbe went on to appeal against the traditional court
Mutare Magistrate Ms Purity Gumbo subsequently ruled in his favour barring Chigodora from forcing Magumbe to perform the traditional cleansing ceremony.
“The respondents are hereby barred or prohibited from forcing the Applicant to participate in any ritual and or cleansing ceremony before any traditional healers or prophets without his consent,” reads the ruling by Magistrate Gumbo
Magumbe’s attorneys, Mr Kudzanai Garry Muraicho and Nicholas Nhambura from Mugadza Chinzamba and Partners confirmed headman Chigodora’s court barring.
“We managed to talk to our client, Mr. Magumbe C Tapiwa and he gave us authority to give you (Zimpapers, H-Metro) a court update with regards to the matter that was scheduled for community Court in Matika village, Chief Zimunya on the 31st of January 2024.
“The update is as follows, we attended (Magistrate court Mutare) Court on the 31st January 2024, and headman Chigodora was present at court. Mr Muraicho and Nhambura from Mugadza Chinzamba and Partners were representing the applicant Tapiwa Christopher Magumbe.
“The headman and the other respondents were represented by Mr Hastings Sithole, a lawyer from Legal Aid Directorate. We deliberated on the matter with their legal practitioner who made concessions and agreed that the conduct of the headman was unlawful.
“As a result, thereof we obtained an interdict from the court to the effect that Headman Chengetai Chigodora and all the respondents who were cited in the application were ordered not to force our client to participate in any traditional cleansing ceremony before traditional healers or prophets, they were further barred from name calling the applicant or labelling him as a wizard and from engaging in any acts that violate his right to freedom of religion,” said Nhambura.