The “prophet” at whose house the two suspected witches were found naked before being arrested two weeks ago, has been charged with “engaging in a practice associated with witchcraft”, a charge similar to that the two women are facing.
Alfred Mupfumbati (30) appeared before Mbare provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavi on Monday and was remanded to October 6 on $200 bail.
The charge emanates from Mupfumbati’s alleged association with the two “witches” and involvement in the events that led to the women being found at his house naked and in possession of items associated with witchcraft.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office yesterday appealed to the High Court to dismiss a bail application by the two suspected witches on the basis that they were not denied bail by the magistrate, but simply remanded in custody to establish their mental status.
The matter failed to be heard because the prosecutor who was supposed to represent the AG’s Office, Edmore Nyazamba, was said to be engaged in another case at the Constitutional Court.
Justice Joseph Musakwa eventually rolled over the matter to today after the State and the women’s lawyer, Tawanda Takaindisa, agreed to the postponement.
However, in his written response to the bail application filed by the suspects, identified in court papers as Maria Moyo and Chipo Chakaja, Nyazamba argued that the application was not properly before the court according to Rule 5 of the High Court of Zimbabwe (Bails).
“It is peremptory to state the name and address of applicant, whether or not bail has previously been refused by a magistrate and if it had been refused, the date on which it was refused and the grounds on which applicant seeks release on bail, the amount of bail he is prepared to give and names of persons who are prepared to stand as sureties for his attendance and appearance in court,” Nyazamba said.
The prosecutor further said in respect of the current application, all the requirements of the High Court bail rules had not been met by the women’s lawyer and urged the court to dismiss the application.
“The grounds on which the applicants criticise the decision by the magistrate do not appear anywhere in the bail statement. With respect, it is submitted that the papers before the honourable court are not properly before the court as they are incurably defective,” the prosecution went on.
“This ought to be an appeal against refusal of bail instead of an application for bail albeit without the essentials of a bail application. For these reasons, it is humbly submitted that the application must be dismissed.”
See related reading:
Latest on Budiriro ‘witches’:Prophet appears in court, women ululate over ruling