Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
A CHIHOTA man who was arrested for possessing a live Egyptian cobra yesterday told a Harare magistrate he wanted his snake back. Grey Mupinganjira (32) of Muhove Village in Mahusekwa was arrested on Sunday at a roadblock in Harare after he was found with the cobra in his laptop bag.
Mupinganjira appeared before magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo. “The snake belongs to me and not to Zimbabwe National Parks and Wild Life Authority,” he said. “It is true that I was found in possession of a snake, but I do not understand why it was taken away from me.”
Mr Makomo asked Mupinganjira why he was claiming ownership of the snake as if he created it. Mupinganjira replied; “I inherited the snake from my late mother. “My mother got the snake from Malawi but now I do not have evidence to prove that because she is no longer alive.”
Mr Makomo ruled that the matter was “a bizarre incident” and the accused needed to be examined by mental doctors. Mupinganjira said he was normal. “I do not suffer from any form of mental illness,” he said.
Mupinganjira is accused of contravening section 59(2)(b) of the Parks and Wildlife Act Chapter 20,14 which prohibits removing any animal or any part of any animal from any land without a permit.
The prosecutor Mrs Francisca Mukumbiri told the court that on Sunday around 11am Mupinganjira was travelling to Epworth from Mbare. The commuter omnibus he was travelling in was stopped at a roadblock at corner Chiremba and Alexandra roads in Hatfield.
The vehicle was searched and Mupinganjira was found in possession of a live Egyptian cobra in his laptop bag. The snake, valued $100, was handed over to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority by the police. Mupinganjira was promptly arrested.