VICTORIA FALLS – The beleaguered Zimbabwe’s ageing tyrant President Mugabe yesterday sank to new depth with unprovoked wild accusations his  former deputy Joice Mujuru for approaching traditional healers and performed wicked rituals in a bid to topple him.

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At celebrations to mark his birth day Mugabe said at one point, Dr Mujuru roped in two Nigerian sangomas in her rabid pursuit of Zimbabwe’s most powerful post.

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Mugabe; who is struggling to shake off the fear of his former deputy said it was imperative to seek God over superstition.

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In 2006 Zimbabwe lifted a ban on the practice of witchcraft, repealing legislation dating back to colonial rule.

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The law acknowledges that supernatural powers exist – but prohibits the use of magic to cause someone harm.

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In 1899, colonial settlers made it a crime to accuse someone of being a witch or wizard – wary of the witch hunts in Europe a few centuries earlier which saw many people burned at the stake after such accusations.

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On Saturday Mugabe said: “We managed to know what Mai Mujuru was doing at her house, even consulting n’angas. Pamwe zvatinomboitwa! (laughs) Pakambobatwa nyungururwi. Ndakange ndisingazive kuti dzinosiyana parudzi; kuita macolours akasiyana.

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“Imwe yainzi itsvuku, imwe yaive nerumwe rudzi. Nyungururwi munodziziva? Dzinomhanya maningi dziya idzi. Ndokuiswa muchirongo chine mvura. Imwe ndoyainzi Mugabe, imwe Mujuru, dzichirovana ipapo. Kubva ndamboitwa nyungururwi ini? Zvatinomboitwa kuseri kwatisiri uko!”

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He continued: “Recently, she invited two Nigerian sangomas. We heard that they were specialists in the field of witchcraft. They were specialists, yes, but specialists in robbing people, foolish people.

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“Vakauya zvikanzi zvatinoita, zvinoita netsika yedu. Tsvagai huku gumi.

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Zvakare ndaitwa huku ipapo. Iyi Mugabe, iyi Mai (Grace) Mugabe, iyi (Emmerson) Mnangagwa – akaiswawo ipapo – nana(Ignatius) Chombo futi, aive neyake, kudakara tasvika gumi vainzi ava ndivo vanondidzivisa. Zvikanzi tinovabvisa nemaNigerian iwayo.

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“Zvakanzi chekai musoro, Mugabe ndobva achekwa, Mai Mugabe guu. Chakangosara changove chimutumbi chehuku chachekwa musoro chave kungoti puu puu. Mnangagwawo nekwake puu, puu. MaNigerians iwayo. Ropa iroro rakazunzwa hameno zvakaitwa ipapo zveun’anga zvacho zvichinzi havararame kusvika pazuva ratinaro nhasi iri.”

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Mugabe said the rituals were weird as they were conducted while Dr Mujuru was semi-nude.

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“Izvozvo zvange zvichiitwa ivo vanzi bisai hembe. Bisai hembe; mazamu pachena, ugonzi unosara uku chete.

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Zvatinoitiswa vakomana! Mai vatakaenda navo kuChimurenga?”

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Mugabe said another round of rituals aimed at engineering his and wife’s death took place at Dr Mujuru’s farm in Beatrice.

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“Uko ndiko kwakanourayiwa shanu (hwai). Hameno kuti Mugabe wafa kare apa pashanu apa wange achazomuka ave hwai futi? Asi akanzi akamuka kubva apfupfurirwazve ipapa. Imwe yangu, imwe yemudzimai. Apa handina kunzwa kuti VaMnangagwa kuti vakadii.

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“But dzakava shanu (hwai) dzakaurawa kupurazi ikoko zvikanzi pisai. Huku dzese dzaiurawa dzainzi hadzidyiwe. Takapfupfudzirwazve zvikanzi muchaona. I said to myself: ‘Where do these Nigerians get the powers to entrap the soul of a human being into a chicken or sheep and then kill him?’

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“God is for us all. I also go to church; I do not believe in superstition. Takafundiswa dzidzo yekwaMwari.”

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Mugabe said sacked Minister of State (Presidential Affairs) Didymus Mutasa was also at the centre of the plot to unseat him unconstitutionally.

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He said one should not be power-hungry, adding that at no point had he dreamt of becoming President and was chosen by others to lead.

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“I worked alongside my peers. I was never ambitious. I never said I will become a President, really. I just did my work as was given me…

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“Not a single Cde I worked with will ever say I complained about the job I had been given, I expressed the desire to get another job at the top. Never, ever. I thought what I have been given was sufficient to make me busy, contributing what I could towards the growth and development of the party and towards growth and development of our struggle.

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“But others thought I could lead. I accepted that leadership and I want to say I have done my best and I have never worked in a manner that I was the only one who can do things. No.

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“What I have always refused to do is to work outside principle, outside what we would have determined as the programmes within the orbit of definite principles.”

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The church in Zimbabwe has always believed that witchcraft exists, but it has been careful to establish the source of such supernatural powers.

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“As Christians we’ve got to recognise that supernatural forces are good if they originate from God – now witchcraft is one of the things that originates from the Satanic world,” says Reverend Roy Musasiwa who runs a theological college in the capital, Harare.

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The Witchcraft Suppression Act was used fairly frequently, but prosecuting someone under the new legislation may prove difficult.

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The new Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act will demand proof that a person has supernatural powers and that they are using them to harm others.

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“It’s not going to be easy task,” says Custom Kachambwa, a former judge with years of experience in the legal field.

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He says witnesses will often be traditional healers, who could be accused of practising harmful magic in the future.

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But whatever the problems, the repealing of the witchcraft laws is another sign that Zimbabwe’s government is continuing to move away from Western values and placing more emphasis on the country’s own traditions.

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