Bizarre cases of our time

HARARE - While there are several bizarre cases that have happened in Zimbabwe, there are some high profile ones which have baffled the nation and left all and sundry confused.

The most bizarre case in Zimbabwe’s recent memory has been of claims by a “diesel mystic” self-styled spirit medium, Rotina Mavhunga that she had discovered diesel oozing from a rock in Chinhoyi.

Mavhunga took large sums of money (Z$5 billion), a car and a piece of land from the nation’s highest ranking politicians, promising in return to use spells to produce diesel fuel from Maningwa Hills in the bush outside the provincial town of Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of Harare.

The “spirit medium”, also known as Nomatter Tagarira, convinced Zimbabwean government officials that she had been possessed by ancestral spirits who were keen to aid the nation’s battle with the fuel shortages.

President Robert Mugabe said after hearing the claims of diesel oozing from rocks, he had set up a taskforce that included State Security minister Didymus Mutasa, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi to investigate.

Mugabe revealed how he personally chaired meetings to discuss claims by the 35-year-old woman that she could produce pure diesel out of rocks, and how his government met her demands for two head of cattle and three buffaloes after falling for her outlandish story.

The bizarre story was exposed as a hoax and Mavhunga was charged with fraud after spending months on the run.

In reality, Mavhunga bought diesel from neighbouring Zambia and piped it into the rocks.

After months on the run, Mavhunga, shielded from the police by Tobaiwa Mudede, the country’s Registrar General, according to police documents, was finally lured into a trap by Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri who sold her a dummy that he wanted to consult her over some personal problem.

Mavhunga, educated up to Grade Three walked into the trap and was arrested at police headquarters in Harare. Her charges related to wasting state resources.

Readers will easily recall the bizarre case in which the late Edina Chizema, popularly known as Mbuya Madhuve fleeced another woman by claiming to import mermaids from the spirit realm.

Mbuya Madhuve who claimed to be a traditional healer extorted 200 million Zimbabwean dollars (about $200 000 ) from Margaret Mapfumo in a bizarre case that ended up in the courts.

The drama began when Mapfumo was robbed of a car and cash and was advised to seek help recovering her property.

She then engaged Mbuya Madhuve, who allegedly sought money to bring the mermaids to Zimbabwe and to put them up in a hotel.

She also claimed she needed cellphones to communicate with them, prosecutors said.

Mbuya Madhuve’s demands gained force from a confederate, a man, who hid behind a curtain and echoed her.
But the scheme fell apart when she hired a relative of Mapfumo.

There was also the bizarre incident involving Tafadzwanashe and Tapiwanashe Fichani, the then 22-year-old twins who were arrested in 2006 while wearing the nhembe loincloths on their daily walk to a shopping centre near their home in Harare. Prior to their arrest, the twins said that they had received a calling from God to give up their western clothing when they were living in the UK.

The twins claimed they received a divine order to shed conventional apparel for goatskin flaps and abandon the comfort of their family home in a posh suburb to sleep in a chicken run.

The twins, who also admitted smoking marijuana, said they were on a mission to preach about creation.
Tafadzwanashe and Tapiwanashe were charged with indecent exposure after walking around in goatskin kilts, which left their buttocks exposed.

They spent two weeks in prison, where their mental states were evaluated.

The twins also shunned chairs and beds and sat and slept only on the floor.  

The twin brothers said that those who criticised their decision were brainwashed by Western culture, as they were just going back to how things were before Europeans arrived in Africa.

A related bizarre case was of the Zhombe twin sisters who set tongues wagging for walking almost naked with only their panties on, in a bizarre bid to relive the Garden of Eden era under a cult calling itself the Davidic Angels of Eden.

Kwekwe Provincial Magistrate Oliver Mudzongachisvo slapped the twins, Memory and Patience Ncube then 45-years-old with a wholly-suspended three-year jail term.

They were released into the custody of their relatives and ordered to live separately as well as to wear clothes, failing which they will go to jail.

And in sport, the most bizarre case was when Monomotapa Football Club masqueraded as national team in Asia in 2009.

To imagine that the team could dress in the national team uniform and masqueraded as the national team baffles the mind.

And to consciously make a decision to misrepresent Zimbabwe was shameful and an affront to the country.

It is like some people dressed themselves up and went and pretended to be high-level government officials — representing government at the highest level!

The Monomotapa Football Club incident is not the only bizarre development in this match-fixing scandal that has led to the suspension of 82 players most of them Warriors core players.

But more puzzling and bizarre was a group of tourists from Asia who came to Zimbabwe and played our national soccer team as they pretended to be professional footballers!.

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