Inyanga in bizarre court drama

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VICTORIA Falls residents were on Friday left speechless, some in fear, at the court yard when a traditional healer started ululating, breaking into a traditional dance and continuously chanting manaka machena.

Ruth Ngwenya
Own Correspondent

Stella Nyandoro, who was attending trial of her son Francis Simbarashe Nyandoro (28), one of five suspected poachers dealing in ivory, came to court wearing a black dress, carrying a fully stuffed black bag and held a stick decorated with different flowers and a white cloth.

Munyaradzi Nhananga (26), Freedom Mandundu (26), Ignatius Msipha (22) and Nyandoro are charged with unlawful possession of ivory, while Busani Nyoni (34) faces a separate charge of illegal dealing in ivory.

The traditional healer, who would continuously kiss the ground before sitting down, was in company of her assistant, who carried marimba.

Stella started talking to herself with a serious frowning face when she was forced to sit outside the court room, as she was denied entry into the fully packed courtroom.

On being interviewed, the traditional healer said she was a global peacemaker, healer and dancer of Swati origin and she was going to help the accused spiritually.

“I am here because of my son Francis and I believe they are innocent as they were only trying to earn a living,” Stella said.

“l am going to help them spiritually.”

She added that it was possible that there were people working at the Parks and Wildlife Authority, who sold ivory without being caught because everyone was trying to earn a living.

“This is a war between people and animals and I am here for their judgment, l believe that God is the one who should judge not us,” Stella said.

During the traditional healer’s presence at the court yard, a snake appeared and it was killed, and a big tree mysteriously fell almost hurting prisoners and prison officers who were close by.

“The falling of the tree means either something good or bad, but I believe it means something good will happen in relation to this case,” she said.

Stella went on to explain her spiritual life, stating that she was a spirit and had many husbands and wives.

She added that she travelled globally and there were many people who approached her seeking spiritual help.

It is the State’s case that on January 27, police officers received a tip-off that the accused were on their way to Kingdom Hotel with an elephant tusk which they intended to sell to an unknown buyer.

Detectives then proceeded to the hotel and intercepted the accused persons at the car park.

After having asked the driver to open the car boot, police officers found one elephant tusk weighing 9,34kg and a digital scale hidden in the boot and arrested them before they implicated Nyoni.

Nhananga, Mandundu, Nyandoro and Msipha were remanded in custody to February 11 for continuation of trial.