By DELPHINE ZULU –
TWO Ugandan men masquerading as witch-doctors have been jailed for three years with hard labour each for theft by a Lusaka magistrate’s court.
Magistrate Felix Kaoma convicted the duo after he was satisfied that the prosecution had proved their case.
He said the court had a duty to impose sentences that would act as a deterrent to would-be offenders, because the number of people masquerading as witch-doctors had swelled at the expense of stealing huge sums of money from unsuspecting members of the public.
“The prevalence of this crime is worrying, citizens are being swindled out of huge sums of money, a clear message needs to be sent that by so doing the perpetrators are committing a crime, I therefore sentence both of you to jail for three years each,” he said.
This was in a matter where Kashimba Ashavu and Joseph Kaketwa were facing one count of theft when they masqueraded as witch doctors and ran away with K41,700 as payment for services rendered to Morris Maboshe on August 10,2017.
He said both accused persons participated in the said crime, saying Ashavu was the senior doctor while Kaketwa was his junior with the third one being a woman and was their secretary still on the run.
Magistrate Kaoma said the shifting by the duo to Kamwala knowing that the victim was waiting for them at Chibolya where they asked him to buy a black chicken for rituals, was a clear indication that they could not cure any disease and only wanted to steal his money.
The court said they made Maboshe who was desperate to be cured of his impotent condition travel all the way to Nakonde and bought a number of items purportedly needed for rituals including providing cash but later bolted.
“It took his initiative to organise other people to call the same number in order to trace the duo after they were found performing the said fake rituals,” he said.
In mitigation, Ashavu said he was a bread winner and recently bought goods in his shop which would be stolen if he was sent to prison.
He further pleaded that he was a family man who had left his wife pregnant and asked for leniency from the court.
Kaketwa said the conditions in prison were poor as they slept on the floor coupled with a poor diet.