Sharon Chigeza Post Correspondent—
A HONDE Valley family is at the centre of a witchcraft storm, which has left the eldest son who is being accused of sorcery, at odds with rest of the family and the community.In an interview with The Weekender, Stephen Jombe, narrated his ordeal, which has earned him a black eye after an attack by the entire family while the community has also turned its back on him.
Jombe said he was now living in perpetual fear of his brothers and other family members who were baying for his blood accusing him of being behind all the mishaps that were befalling the family.
“The most recent incident of violence, which left me black eyed came in the wake of the death of one of my sisters-in-law with whom I had bad blood emanating from a disagreement over religious preferences,” said Jombe.
Jombe had been in disagreement with his sisters in law and their children over religious preferences whom he said were putting him on the spot and accusing him of witchcraft. His sister-in-law, Monica Marowa died earlier this month, igniting the family row once again, which eventually dragged the community into the issue.
“Marowa passed away a few weeks ago following a short illness and since there was bad blood between us and her family, I did not bother participating in the funeral arrangements and proceedings. On the day of her burial, however, relatives found several items on her grave, which led my two brothers Abel and Cosmas once again pointing fingers at me,” said Jombe.
Jombe being the eldest of the three, had not agreed and approved of the family changing from African traditional religion to Pentecostal fellowship claiming that he did not agree with the doctrines and would rather have his family going to Anglican, which had been the family’s church from birth.
“By virtue of disagreeing to change my religious beliefs and following the Pentecostal doctrines, my sisters-in-law and their families labelled me a sorcerer and one responsible for their misfortunes. This at some point resulted in violence between me and my late sister-in-law.
“Because I refused to join the new religion introduced to the family, my brothers were led to believe that I was practising black magic and after consulting a tsikamutanda who I believe was fake, and had been bribed, I was allegedly discovered to be possessing an item of black magic that was found at the grinding mill that I own and run. I was forced to pay three cows and since then I never again spoke to my sisters-in-law or their families for they all believed I am the bad apple,” said Jombe. The suspected desecration of Jombe’s late sister-in-law’s grave once again saw the family seeking the counsel of traditionalists and apostolic faith prophets and all findings seemed to point to Jombe, which infuriated the family leading to his beating.
The matter was then taken up to the village headman and later the chief where the family was given yet another traditionalist as per court order. The findings of the latest traditionalist were the ones that were used in the final verdict of the grave desecration issue.
“We followed the traditional court proceedings and went through all due processes including going to the assigned traditionalist. Having gone through all rituals I was found clean and innocent but my brothers are still finding that reality hard to swallow,” said Jombe.
Nyarai Hazviemurwi (Jombe) daughter to the deceased Marowa said she was aware her uncle had been taken to courts over the issue of her mother’s grave but was not willing to give an opinion over the matter. She claimed she had accepted her mother’s death as coming from God and would not want to interfere with proceedings.
“I know my mother and uncle had bad blood between them over religious opinions but I am not going to blame anyone for the passing on of my mother. I was with her in her last minutes and she never said anything concerning anyone over her illness so I believe she died at peace,” said Hazviemurwi.