A faith healer accused of hiring two women who claimed to be “witches” after being found naked outside his Harare house has denied any links with the single mothers after they alleged he hired them as part of a publicity stunt.

Alfred Mupfumbati, 30, better known as Madzibaba Mateo in Harare’s Budiriro area accused the women of fabricating the allegations against him as part of a bid for leniency following their arrest.

“I don’t even know these two women,” Mupfumbati told the Herald.

“I have nothing to do with them and have never connived with them or anyone to perform such a shameful act to attract more clients. I am a spiritual healer nothing more.”

Christine Nyamupandu, 33, and Elinet Ben, 43, were arrested dressed in just skin tights on September 10 outside the self-proclaimed prophet’s house..

Complete with various paraphernalia said to be associated with their supposed trade, the two told investigators they were witches who had “crash-landed” while flying over the prophet’s house after being overcome by his “powers”.

But following interviews with their relatives, police learnt that they had not only lied about their identities – Christine claimed she was Chipo Chakaja and Elinet claimed she was Maria Moyo – but they had in fact been hired by the prophet to stage the event to make him famous.

The two women, charged in court with engaging in practices commonly associated with witchcraft, were granted US$200 bail each by Mbare resident magistrate Reuben Mukavi on Monday.

Mupfumbati was also arrested and is out on US$200 bail. The trio will stand trial with his alleged accomplices on October 15.

However, the faith-healer denied hiring the women for the publicity stunt and promising to reward them with a Nissan Navara vehicle.

He said: “I don’t know anything about these women whatever they are, witches or what?

“I dismiss their claims with contempt. I heard that they alleged all this while in prison that I had hired them. This is all false; you know when you are in prison, you can do anything to get out.

“So I assume they concocted this story to come out. Yes I have a Nissan Navara, but I haven’t finished paying for it. So how can I promise to give the car away.”

 See related reading:

Budiriro ‘witches’: Prophet charged

Budiriro witch crash-landing ‘a hoax’