KADOMA – Fani Phanuel Phiri, the Zanu PF MP for Kadoma Central, has been fingered in a ritual kidnapping, with his alleged accomplices imprisoned.
Phiri is alleged to have instructed Dominic Musapurwa, 56, Odrina Gwerengwe, 51, Joyce Watyoka, 50, Chipo Muradi, 54, Kaiser Ncube, 69, to kidnap two children for ritual purposes to help him win the recently held harmonised elections.
Phiri polled 6 886 votes in the July 31 vote against the MDC’s Editor Matamisa’s 6 214 votes.
The gang told Kadoma residential magistrate Richard Ramaboe that Phiri was the man behind the kidnapping of two minor girls, who were to be sacrificed so that he could bolster his election bid.
Ramaboe jailed Gwerengwe and Muradi for six months, while Watyoka and Ncube were sent to prison for four years. Musapurwa was slapped with a nine-month prison term.
The court heard the group kidnapped the two nine-year-old female twins from Waverly in Kadoma and took them to a bushy area for ritual purposes.
Christopher Mudhuchwa, a traditional healer who did the sacrifice, is still at large. During cross examination, Musapurwa sensationally revealed that they were acting on Phiri’s instructions.
“We had instructions from Fani Phiri to proceed with the ritual through Odrina Gwerengwe,” Musapurwa said.
He also told the court that when the offence was committed, he was standing on a Zanu PF ticket to be councillor for ward 11.
“There were rituals to win elections,” Musapurwa said.
On the other hand, Ncube told the court that the traditional healer later refused to carry out further rituals. While in a trance, the traditional healer told the group that they had stolen the children, yet he had instructed them to bring their own.
He further told the court that top party officials (names withheld) in the province were well aware of these rituals and had given them the go ahead in an attempt to secure victory against the MDC.
Watyoka denied kidnapping the children although she admitted going to the rituals with her co-accused.
“I indeed accompanied the other co-accused persons herein to the place where ritual activities were carried out by Mudhuchwa, but the children were brought by Gwerengwe who said she had been given authority by their parents,” she said.
The court heard that the criminals gathered at Gwerengwe’s house on July 15 this year where they arranged to take two female juveniles to Mudhuchwa for ritual purposes concerning the harmonised elections.
Muradi and Musapurwa were both local authority candidates for Zanu PF for ward 17 and 11 respectively.
Gwerengwe requested the two from their mother on the pretext that she wanted to send them to the shops.
Gwerengwe’s team allegedly took the twins into their vehicle and drove them to a bushy area where the juveniles were ordered to take off their shoes and kneel down before they were given snuff to smear on their hands.
After that, the minors were returned home at night.
They narrated the incident to their mother, who later filed a police report, leading to the convicts’ arrest.