‘Maize thief’ tied to ant-infested tree’

Gibson Mhaka
A suspected maize thief from Gokwe received a new level of punishment when a headman allegedly ordered him to be stripped naked before he was tied to a tree swarming with red ants for 12 hours.

Justice Chengama whose hands and feet were bound, was reportedly wriggling and screaming in agony as the menacing ants went for his legs, feet and private parts.

Unable to move, Chengama was stung by the ants continuously for almost 12 hours.

As a result of the gruesome punishment, Chengama sustained severe bites and was taken to Gokwe district hospital for treatment.

He was allegedly punished for stealing maize cobs from the headman’s garden.

Headman Kenny Chikwava from Chingwere Village has since crossed paths with Chief Nemangwe, whose jurisdiction the area falls under, over his alleged public act of retribution against Chengama.

It is reported that when he was summoned by Chief Nemangwe to his traditional court, Chikwava reportedly refused to go.

He bragged that the stern punishment was the best way of deterring would-be offenders in his village.

The bragging and refusal did not, however, go down well with Chief Nemangwe who said if he continued defying his orders he would report him to the police.

When contacted for comment Chief Nemangwe confirmed the incident.

He said it was brought to his attention by some villagers who were ordered by Chikwava to keep Chengama captive for 12 hours.

“I can confirm that I am handling a case involving Justice Chengama and headman Kenny Chikwava from Chingwere area. Headman Chikwava tied Chengama to a tree covered in red ants from 7am to 7pm. The headman accused Chengama of stealing maize cobs from his garden.

“Chengama was only rescued after the intervention of some villagers who pleaded with the headman to pardon him. Investigations later revealed that he was not the one who had stolen the maize cobs in question.

“Chengama, however, sustained severe bites and was taken to hospital for treatment. I have since summoned the headman to my court and if he defies my order I will report him tothe police,” said Chief Nemangwe.