A recent spiritual battle between Madzibaba Emmanuel Mutumwa and a sangoma ended with the shaman, not on the ropes, but on the canvass after the prophet delivered a knockout punch.
The knockout punch saw one of the suspected armed robbers linked to a gang that recently robbed a Beitbridge businessman of R1,2 million and US$3 500 being nabbed while at a sangoma’s house, where he seeking spiritual protection to keep him from being arrested.
The arrest of the man comes after the businessman consulted a local Apostolic faith leader for divine intervention to recover his stolen money.
According to a source close to the investigations, Charles Chekenyere (27) from Madziva Village in Chivi was reportedly arrested on Thursday last week while consulting a sangoma.
After being arrested, Chekenyere sang like a bird as he implicated Marshal Mutekwa (27), Anold Musimudziwa (29), Julius Chibharo (35) and Moses Kwangwari (37) for being responsible for a spate of armed robberies in Masvingo, Beitbridge and other areas.
Police recovered a Toyota Wish vehicle registration number AFI 8727, which the suspects were using as a get-away car and property purchased using the proceeds of the armed robbery cases, which include a Nissan Caravan vehicle registration number AFO 9137 and a Toyota Mark X vehicle registration number AFO 6242.
Chekenyere and Mutekwa are believed to be part of a four-gun wielding gang that broke into the Beitbridge businessman’s house in the early hours of the morning on October 9 and got away with R1,2 million, US$3 500, two cellphones and four wrist watches, among other valuables.
Another suspect, Freeman Ndudzo of Dulivhadzimu, who is also linked to a number of robbery cases in Beitbridge was arrested on November 5.
Upon his arrest he was found with four pistols believed to be imported from South Africa and intended for use in robbery cases in Zimbabwe.
The arrests came after the businessman’s frequent visits to Apostolic faith leader Madzibaba Emmanuel Mutumwa of the Johane Masowe eChishanu shrine in Selbourne Park suburb in Bulawayo to make the armed robbers return his money to him.
He visited the prophet four times, the last time, November 15, he gave a touching testimony of how Madzibaba Mutumwa had helped him to have the three suspects, who allegedly raided his house, arrested.
Pictures and videos in possession of B-Metro show the businessman in white robs while kneeling before Madzibaba Mutumwa receiving prayers. In some videos, the businessman is seen giving testimonies and explaining the purpose of his visit to Madzibaba Mutumwa, saying he had come to seek “divine” intervention after he lost his money to armed robbers.
When reached for comment the businessman confirmed that he consulted Madzibaba Mutumwa for divine intervention so that he can recover his money.
“It’s true that I consulted him (Madzibaba Mutumwa) and that is when he told me that the suspects will be arrested.
Three of the suspects have since been arrested. I had no doubts that his prayers worked. People should also know that when having such problems, it’s all about believing when one consults any man of God,” the businessman said.
Meanwhile, the arrest of Chekenyere while at a sangoma’s house has put a spotlight to beliefs that some armed robbers were turning to traditional healers or sangomas for protection and powers to execute their crimes.
Commenting on the phenomenon of criminals resorting to sangomas for ritual ceremonies, Madzibaba Mutumwa said only prayer can make juju powerless.
“Although as a prophet I don’t believe that muthi can make one evade arrest, I know it can make them oblivious to their surroundings and to subsequently believe they are above the law. Little did they know that even the muthi power was not enough to stop the police from arresting them. When the businessman from Beitbridge consulted me after he lost his money to these armed robbers, I made it clear to him that the suspects will be arrested despite the fact that they were using juju to execute their crimes.
“These suspects usually visit sangomas for muthi they believed would keep them from being arrested or from being convicted in court upon being arrested. But as a man of God, I always pray and make sure that their rituals become useless so that they can be arrested,” said Madzibaba Mutumwa.
Madzibaba Mutumwa is on record claiming to have the powers of establishing causes of bad events and protecting people against evil and many victims of theft and burglary are reportedly flocking to his shrine to consult.
A self-styled sangoma from Makokoba, who did not want to be named, said some sangomas were cashing in on the trend, claiming they have powers to fortify armed robbers to become invincible when executing their crimes.
“Some of the armed robbers equate a heist with going to war, so before they commit a robbery, they need a sangoma for protection and to cleanse them from bad luck. For example, one doesn’t not just walk into a shop or house with a rifle, position himself to attack and start shooting unless they believed they were invisible,” said the sangoma.
The president of the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha), George Kandiero also confirmed that armed robbers were consulting sangomas for ritual ceremonies they believe would keep them from being arrested or convicted in the event that they were arrested.
“A lot of armed robbers especially those who believe that they have a spirit (shavi/idlozi) that manifest and influence their actions are always consulting sangomas for protection and to know if their ancestors agree with what they are doing at that particular time when they want to commit a robbery,” said Kandiero.
He, however, said members of his association were not involved in aiding armed robbers.
Quoted recently in some sections of the local media, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi neither confirmed nor denied the influence of sangomas on the rise of armed robber cases in Zimbabwe.
“We are yet to receive reports of such cases happening under the dark world of sangomas fortifying armed robbers to be invincible. We will be, therefore, grateful when you unravel such activities which will therefore help us deal with crime,” Asst Commissioner Nyathi was quoted as having said.