Sangoma torches unclea��s hut, sentenced to six years

Masvingo Correspondent
A SELF-STYLED sangoma from Chief Nyajena area in Masvingo who set his unclea��s house on fire because it allegedly had goblins was on Wednesday slapped with an effective six-year jail term.
Mike Musiiwa of Mutadzo Village pleaded guilty to arson before Masvingo provincial magistrate Sibonginkosi Mkandla.

He was convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail of which one year was suspended for five years on condition that he reinstitute the complainant the value of the damaged property on or before August 31.

Another year was further suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

Musiiwa took advantage of his uncle, Alick Malendelea��s absence to torch the house resulting in the destruction of property worth about $1 000. He was spotted torching the thatched house by a fellow villager, Marita Raisi who rushed to alert Malendele.

A report was made at Renco police leading to Musiiwaa��s arrest and his subsequent appearance in court. Magistrate Mkandla said Musiiwa had no right to torch his unclea��s house.

In mitigation, Musiiwa said he set the house on fire because he had proved that his uncle was bewitching him using his goblins.

a�?I am a sangoma who has helped a number of people by exorcising evil spirits and destroying witchesa�� goblins. I went into a mountain and started counting stones, which are the tools I use in carrying my duties. One of the stones helped me identify my tormentor. My uncle had been attempting to cast a bad spell on me and other family members using goblins that I later destroyed when I set his house on fire. I knew that there was no one in the house who could be harmed.

a�?I just wanted to destroy his goblins, which I did,a�? said Musiiwa showing no signs of remorse.

Fidelicy Nyamukondiwa for the State said Musiiwa took advantage of his unclea��s absence and proceeded to his homestead in the same village where upon arrival he set the house on fire.

a�?Property destroyed included blankets, a 12 volts battery, 50kg of compound D fertiliser, two wooden doors, 50kg of wheat, 20kg of mealie-meal, 40kg of sorghum, two home theatre speakers, two bibles, seven birth certificates, two monarch bags with various clothing and $412,a�? he said.