Traditional healer escapes jail after killing daughter-in-law

A 72-YEAR-OLD Binga traditional doctor has been spared a jail sentence for causing the death of her daughter-in-law during a botched surgical operation to help her conceive.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

Mata Mudenda of Dongamusa Village was instead slapped with a wholly suspended 12-month jail term when she appeared before High Court judge Justice Francis Bere charged with culpable homicide.

Prosecutor Namatirai Ngawasha told the court that on August 31 last year, Evelin Sinampande (33) approached Mudenda for help as she was having problems of conceiving.

Mudenda “diagnosed” her and established that she had fibroids that needed to be cut using a razor blade. She went on to conduct the surgery, causing Sinampande to bleed profusely leading to her death on September 11.

Mudenda through her defence counsel, Givemore Muvhiringi of Dube and Company said her client was already haunted by her daughter-in-law’s death and pleaded for an acquittal

“My lord, my client is an old traditional healer who thought she was doing a right operation because of lack of knowledge. She thought she was able to do the operation though unfortunately went wrong,” Muvhiringi said.

“We were going to suggest that she gets a fine considering her age and health issues because after the tragedy she developed an illness on her feet and they are always swollen and she does not own any valuable asset, therefore, we plead for courts to give her a free acquittal though a strong warning is to be given.” Muvhiringi said.

In passing sentence, Justice Bere said: “A young life was lost just out of negligence. Surgical operations must be done by people who are professionals not what you did as it wasn’t your mandate. You must pass on the message to all your community members and families who engage in such to stop it, because you will rot in jail.

“The medical report proved that she died because of excessive bleeding and none of you cared to take her to hospital for a week and that was wrong. Your duty as traditional healers is to provide medicine not to operate.”

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