Many times when hard pressed Zimbabweans are faced with disease the only option open to them is to seek medication the traditional way, but then, more often than not, traditional healers provide concoctions that are poisonous and solutions that can be controversial.

In Gokwe, a semi arid area South West of Zimbabwe, two women died after the witchdoctor who had been engaged by a community bereft of answers to mysterious occurrences gave them a poisonous drink which was meant to prove that the duo where not the root of the village’s woes.

The two elderly women, Jessy Mutero (83) and Eritha Bhebhe (73), both of Mangisui village under Chief Saiin Gokwe, fail victim to old age practises of being branded witches.

Often in Zimbabwe, a country that alters between Christian and traditional practices, elderly women bear the brunt of being ever suspects of witchcraft practices.

 So when a child fell ill, the Mutero and Bhebhes, who have family ties, consulted a self proclaimed prophet Maxwell Pira, who summoned the two families to his home for a cleansing exercise that unfortunately went horribly wrong.

The two grannies, who according to the police, died a sudden death where accused of possessing goblins which many believe suck the blood of the living and periodically crave human flesh.

Police in Midlands confirmed the death.

Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said: “Pira gathered all family members and started praying for them. He also said prayers for a liquid which he called ‘holy water’.

“He instructed all the family members to drink the water which was passed around in a cup, but warned that those responsible for the sickness of the young girl should not drink the concoction as they would die. The two elderly women drank the liquid but collapsed almost immediately. They were put on a scotch cart but died on the way to hospital.”

The two women’s bodies were taken to Gokwe Hospital for a post mortem after the incident last Saturday.

Police say Pira has gone on the run and are asking for help from the public to locate him down. He faces murder charges, according to Inspector Mahoko.