CHIVHU – There was drama at the Chivhu Magistrates Court on Saturday when 21 members of the Gundo extended family in Sadza were hauled before the courts on allegations of burning down houses belonging to their parents who they accuse of witchcraft.
The family comes from Gundo Village, Pokoteke Ward 27 under Chief Neshangwe in Sadza.
Caston Gundo and Ranmore Gundo who are brothers are complainants in the case where they accuse Michael Gundo and 20 others who are their sons or their other brothers' sons of burning down their houses. They allege that the 20 sons, most of who are working in Harare of having come down from the city and burnt houses in the village after accusing them (parents) of witchcraft.
Caston and Ranmore are also joined by their sisters (aunts to their sons) Agnes and Laina as complainants in the case. There are also two other brothers Tapiwa and Caleb who are complainants alongside their parents.
The 21 sons including the village head are pleading not guilty to the arson. They argue that their parents got them charged for arson because they are cut down their fathers' witchcraft tree (muzhanje) that was in the yard after an instruction from a prominent prophet to do so in order to end misfortunes that have been befalling the family.
However, they admit that they were accusing their parents of witchcraft which they allege was passed on to them by their grandfather. Michael Gundo, one of the accused narrated the story to The Mirror.
They said that the family had been suffering misery as a result of the goblins possessed by their fathers. They alleged that there are many mysterious deaths in the family, six family members have become mentally unstable and the children sleep in the bushes whenever they visit their rural homes because of the goblins that make them sick.
The sons also allege that at one time they woke up in the fields after sleeping in bushes near the homes. Another relative lost more than 20 cattle from his pen and they disappeared without trace.
This forced the sons to leave their Johanne Marange Church which they went to and joined Zviratidzo Zvevapositori where a prophet told them to cut down a muhanje tree that is in the family homestead.
A big gathering that included traditional leaders like local headmen, villages heads and chiefs attended the function but although the tree was eventually cut, the event turned nasty when the aunties to the 21 sons removed their clothes and bared their naked bodies in a bid to stop the cutting down of the tree.
Michael alleged that it was after the cutting down of the tree that their parents plotted to burn down their house and then hand them to the Police as suspects.