A LAWYER’S RECOLLECTION by Lex Fundicatus
The women of Mkoba residential suburb in Gweru, especially those who did not go to work, formed a formidable fighting unit which was designed to preserve their marriages and completely rout husband snatchers.
Nothing escaped the eye of their network, and any suspicious conduct by the husband of a member of the network was analysed, debated and a decision taken, which was promptly executed according to the law as decreed by the Mkoba Women’s Court.
The women of Mkoba held their Court where ever it suited them, be it on the street or behind the house of one of their members, but this did not detract from the Court’s power and authority. Once a verdict was reached, woe unto the person who would have been found guilty in the Mkoba Women’s Court.
The sentences which were pronounced by the Court ranged from a public humiliation of the errant husband’s side chick, confronting the straying husband over his misdeeds, administering a love portion to the cheating husband, or physical violence against the mistress, or worse. And the sentence was carried out by the women themselves or their lawfully appointed agents.
They had inherent and wide jurisdiction.
Mai Sandra had been having grief for a considerable time over her suspicion that her husband was being unfaithful, but she could not identify who his mistress was. Baba Sandra was now coming back home at odd hours, and sometimes absconded throughout the night without coming back at all, even when his name was called outside three times. And worst of all, he was also now neglecting his fatherly duties in the matrimonial bedroom, which in the Mkoba Women’s Court, was conclusive evidence of infidelity and adultery.
Mai Sandra lodged an appeal to the Mkoba Women’s Court, which promptly set its intricate network of gossip and spies into motion.
In no time the Mkoba Women’s Court had identified the culprit. One of the Court’s members reported that her niece had a friend who stayed in Mkoba 14 who used to see Baba Sandra’s car dropping off provisions at her neighbour’s house which was occupied by a single mother who the locals called “Scintillating.” According to the niece’s friend, Baba Sandra’s car sometimes spent the night at Scintillating’s house.
In the Mkoba Women’s Court, hearsay was the source of primary evidence and readily admissible.
The Mkoba Women’s Court convened a hasty hearing for the matter was urgent and could not wait. Various options were carefully weighed and explored, until a decision was taken that Mai Sandra should approach Masaramusi the medicine man, who would take all necessary steps to make Baba Sandra come back to his family and forget about Scintillating.
Precisely what transpired between Mai Sandra and Masaramusi the medicine man later became the subject matter of a dispute of fact during police investigations, but what was not in dipute was that Mai Sandra reported back to the Court that Masaramusi the medicine man wanted her to bring a pair of Scintillating’s panties for him to perform the necessary rituals.
The niece’s friend who was Scintillating’s neighbour and had brought information to the Court concerning Scintillating and Baba Sandra’s extra marital association, was thus summoned to the Mkoba Women’s Court. The problem was presented to her. lt was easy to resolve, the niece’s friend proclaimed. Scintillating was in the habit of concealing her panties underneath a towel which she hung outside on the washing line each time she finished bathing.
Because Scintillating’s washing line was close and within arm’s length to the niece’s friend’s fence, the niece’s friend managed to bring back Scintillating’s panties to the Court within a few days’ time.
Mai Sandra thus went back to Masaramusi the medicine man with Scintillating’s panties.After Masaramusi performed rituals with Scintillating’s panties, he wrapped up the panties in khaki paper and instructed Mai Sandra to take them to an active anthill, dig a shallow hole in the anthill, throw the panties in and cover them up with anthill soil, while all the time chanting incantations of what her heart desired, and the ancestors of Masaramusi would grant her wish.
And so Mai Sandra walked to the open space between Mkoba 12 and Ascot Residential suburb where active anthills were plentiful, and executed the judgment of the Mkoba Women’s Court, as decreed by Masaramusi the medicine man and waited.
But not for long. News about Scintillating’s rare ailment started spreading in Mkoba residential suburb like a wild fire, a few weeks after Mai Sandra buried Scintillating’s panties on the active anthill. Scintillating was being devoured slowly, the same way termites of an active anthill feed on and destroy a wooden plank, leaving large, ugly and unsightly scars.
lt was like a hungry and angry team of anthill termites were feasting on her entire body, everyone who saw her pronounced in horror.
Doctors shook their heads in sadness and declared that Scintillating’s affliction was beyond the realm of modern science, and threw in the towel.
Someone whispered to Scintillating’s family members; “a humble man lives in the dusty plains of Guruve, and he is gifted in matters spiritual, his name is Svikiro, go and consult him, you may save your daughter’s life.”
And thither then to Guruve Scintillating’s family went. Svikiro did not waste time. After consulting his bones, he pronounced; “l am unable to cure your daughter. She got involved with a married man, and the married man’s wife is seeking vengeance. lt is only the man who assisted the married woman to seek revenge who can reverse the spell that was cast on your daughter. He derives his powers from the sinful shores of Lake Malawi. Seek him before it is too late.”
And so Scintillating’s family went back to Mkoba 14 and held an urgent hearing with Scintillating, who could barely talk because of festering wounds on her mouth, face, eyes and throat and everywhere on the rest of her body, wounds which quickly dried and left gaping scars, as if mutilating termites on a trail of destruction had invaded her body. After the hearing, a decision was taken to confront Baba Sandra with Svikiro’s findings.
When Baba Sandra was told by Scintillating’s family the allegation that it was his own wife Mai Sandra who had hired a yet to be identified wizard to use non-natural means against Scintillating as punishment for having an affair with him, Baba Sandra was distraught, hurt and infuriated. He made an undertaking to Scintillating’s family to investigate and revert.
Baba Sandra in turn held an urgent hearing with Mai Sandra over Svikiro’s findings. Emotional blackmail, threats of physical violence, threats of eternal torment by Scintillating’s avenging spirit if she died, threats of exposure to the parish priest, altogether cumulatively took their toll on Mai Sandra and she buckled under pressure. Mai Sandra admitted to having hired Masaramusi the medicine man of Malawian origin, but not to kill Scintillating, but to make her husband forget her and come back home, she confessed.There, it was out in the open.
Another urgent hearing with Scintillating’s family was hastily convened, everyone agreed that the matter was now even more urgent than before, Scintillating was hanging to life by a thread. Members of Mai Sandra’s family were present, Baba Sandra’s family members were in attendance, and so were Scintillating’s family members. Only one issue was to be determined. Who was going to confront Masaramusi the medicine man?
Masaramusi the medicine man was both feared and respected in Mkoba and beyond. Word on the street was that powerful politicians, prosperous businessmen and popular lawyers were his major nocturnal clients, but Masaramusi remained a humble and unassuming man who lived a simple but private life. But behind this facade was a vicious man, no one clashed with Masaramusi and survived to tell the tale.
Scintillanting had a wise uncle. He could see that the hearing was veering off course with individual family members blaming each other for the crisis, a thing which did not help the patient who was at the verge of death. He made a decision; “let us involve the police, they will help us talk to Masaramusi.”But the police charged Masaramusi with an offence that criminalises enganging in conduct associated with the practice of witchcraft, and Scintillating died anyway. She was buried at Mtapa Cemetery in what the Gweru community described as the most tragic event which arose from the Mkoba Women’s Court.
Meanwhile, Masaramusi the medicine man consulted a lawyer. The lawyer had a reputation in Gweru for being meticulous and aggressive. Gweru loved him.
The lawyer reviewed the evidence with care before taking instructions from his client, Masaramusi the medicine man. The evidence worried the lawyer. Things were not looking good for the medicine man.
When the lawyer finally held conference with his client, it was the client who was reassuring the lawyer, not the other way round. “Please don’t worry Mr Lawyer. Everything will be fine. l help people with their problems because l have a special gift. The gift l have will not forsake me.”
And so the lawyer and the medicine man went to Court, the one with doubt the other with faith. And in Court 3 at the Magistrate Court in Main Street Gweru, the Prosecutor rose to withdraw charges against the medicine man