A self-styled sangoma from Chief Nyajena area in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, has appeared in court for allegedly setting his uncle's house on fire because it had goblins. Mike Musiiwa of Mutadzo Village pleaded guilty to arson before Masvingo provincial magistrate Sibonginkosi Mkandla. He was remanded in custody for sentence.
Musiiwa took advantage of his uncle, Alick Malendele's absence to torch the house resulting in the destruction of property worth about $1,000. He was spotted torching the thatched house by a fellow villager, Marita Raisi who rushed to alert Malendele. A report was made at Renco police leading to Musiiwa's arrest and his subsequent appearance in court. Magistrate Mkandla said Musiiwa had no right to torch his uncle's house.
In his defence, Musiiwa said he set the house on fire because he had proved that his uncle was bewitching him using his goblins. "I am a sangoma who has helped a number of people by exorcising evil spirits and destroying witches' goblins. I went into a mountain and started counting stones, which are the tools I use in carrying my duties. One of the stones helped me identify my tormentor. My uncle had been attempting to cast a bad spell on me and other family members using goblins that I later destroyed when I set his house on fire. I knew that there was no one in the house who could be harmed.
Fidelicy Nyamukondiwa for the state said Musiiwa took advantage of his uncle's absence and proceeded to his homestead in the same village where upon arrival he set the house on fire. Property destroyed included blankets, a 12 volts battery, 50 kg of compound D fertilizer, two wooden doors, 50 kg of wheat, 20 kg of mealie-meal, 40 kg of sorghum, two home theatre speakers, two bibles, seven birth certificates, two monarch bags with various clothing and $412.
Musiiwa had an altercation with Malendele, 40, over the same issue sometime between 2012 and 2013.