A FARMER of Shicitaza Village of Chief Kaingu’s area in Central Province has dragged another farmer of the same area to the Lusaka High Court for allegedly accusing him of being a witch.
Physical Muntanga, who has sued Humphrey Muntanga, claims that the latter accused him of being responsible for his illness and misfortune and also testified before the Headman’s Committee that he (Physical) had bewitched him in bedwetting.
Physical, who has also sued Chief Kaingu of Itumbi Palace in Itezhi-tezhi district as the second defendant, is seeking damages for defamation of character and a declaration that divination is illegal in Zambia.
He also wants an order for interest on all payments due until full settlement, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, Physical stated that on August 6, this year, he received summons from Headman Shicitaza under Chief Kaingu which directed him to appear before the said Headman on August 11 to answer to allegations that were not disclosed.
He stated that he did attend to the summons before Headman Shicitaza as directed but the matter was adjourned to August 16.
Physical stated that on August 16, he appeared before the said Headman Shicitaza’s committee which informed him that he had been summoned by one Humphrey Muntanga, the first defendant in the matter.
He stated that during deliberations of the Headman’s committee, Humphrey testified that he had bought summons against him because he (Physical) was a witch who had been responsible for his illness and misfortune.
“The plaintiff (Physical) will aver at trial that the first defendant (Humphrey) also testified that he had evidence of the witchcraft practices of the plaintiff as he was told this information by a witch doctor called Kalidundu in 2017. The first defendant also testified before the Headman’s Committee that the plaintiff had bewitched him in bedwetting and that the first defendant’s wives have been dreaming that his cattle had been attacking them in dreams,” read the claim.
Physical further stated that Humphrey also informed the Headman’s committee that he had been failing to have consortium and conjugal rights with his two wives as a result of being bewitched by him (Physical).
He stated that Humphrey’s statements against him before a full panel of the Headman’s committee where he accused him of being a witch were false and malicious.
Physical added that these words in their natural and ordinary meaning were intended and actually understood by ordinary minded people to mean that he is a killer and a danger to society who does not deserve to be alive, let alone to live in Shicitaza Village.
He further stated that the Headman’s committee ruled that Humphrey and him must proceed to go and divine with another witch doctor so that they could prove whether or not he was a witch, which ruling he declined on grounds that it was not only illegal but also that his religious beliefs did not allow consultation of witch doctors.
Physical stated that the Headman’s committee referred the dispute to Chief Kaingu’s committee for further deliberations.
“The plaintiff will aver at trial that the second defendant (Chief Kaingu) presided over the dispute and the first defendant, again as he did in the Headman’s committee, explained to the Chief’s committee that he had summoned the plaintiff on the grounds that he was a witch as this was the information he got from a witch doctor called Kalidundu in 2017,” read the claim further.
He lamented that Humphrey’s statements were false and malicious calculated at bringing his name into ridicule and disrepute as this false information of witchcraft spread like wild fire in the Kaingu chiefdom.
Physical added that as a result of the false allegations made against him that he was a witch, he had suffered severe damage and injury to his good reputation.
Physical stated that his life had been under serious threat of being killed by the community as most people in the Shicitaza Village still believed in witchcraft and some innocent people had previously been killed by mob justice merely on false allegations that the suspect was a witch.