HARARE – Two suspected witches who caused a stir in Harare’s Budiriro suburb after being caught naked sitting in winnowing baskets have launched a fresh bail bid, their lawyer has confirmed.
Maria Moyo, 30 and Chipo Chakaja, 26, remained in custody after Mbare magistrate Rueben Mukavhi remanded them in terms of the Mental Health Act.
Their High Court appeal failed to succeed after the court struck the matter off the roll last week, ensuring the duo remained behind bars.
The case became controversial after a “prophet” who allegedly caught the “witches” was arrested for stage-managing the act.
Alfred Mupfumbati, 30, was arrested for allegedly hiring the women as a marketing gimmick having promised a reward of a vehicle. He was last week freed on $200 bail.
Their lawyer Norman Mugiya yesterday said he was filing a fresh bail application, arguing that his clients are innocent.
“The event was dramatised and the main actor in the drama is now behind bars. My clients are properly exonerated. Now that the circumstances have changed that totally quashes any suspicion which existed at the time of arrest.
“Any insinuation pointing to them as witches from now onwards will be highly defamatory,” Mugiya said.
He said the offence would have been sustained only if the two had not confessed that the issue was stage-managed.
The two initially pleaded guilty to the charges associated with witchcraft, before Mukavhi altered their plea to not guilty after ordering the two to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
It is the state’s case that the two single mothers “were in possession of an owl, two winnowing baskets, each containing animal skins, gourd, talisman and stuff believed to be used for witchcraft purposes.”