By Ackel Zwane | 2019-11-09
Testimonies by a self-confessed magician in the ongoing murder trial of slain Mbabane football maestro Victor Gamedze heralds the arrival of a new dawn bringing to light another form of peculiarity of our so called justice system.
It will not be surprising that we shall hear of ghosts being brought into the dock to give testimony on which either the prosecution or the defence will influence the judgement.
If a witness takes the stand, the presumption is that he or she must speak the truth, not an influenced truth and not the truth according to some occult or spirit, the truth according to the knowledge of the witness, first hand and unadulterated.
Now this guy Sifiso Mbhalo Solomon Hlophe claims to have had a premonition to warn the late Gamedze that he would not live through to the Monday of his death but Gamedze ignored his warning. This hearsay seems to have upset the peace of Advocate Laurence Hodes because it was not Hlophe who told these things to Gamedze but it was the spirits that possessed him, which spirits can never be given a hearing by a rational court of law.”You strongly believe in your spirits, yet what you have told the court is far from the truth, why do you have to lie? I put it to you that you have never at any stage told Gamedze about your alleged premonition, that he would not see the light of the day on Monday as he would be shot.”
Advocate Hodes was short of blatantly shouting at Hlophe that he was actually talking absolute nonsense, something that should have awakened the other side of the medulla of those who brought this possessed man into the court to testify.
If this trend continues, in such cases of murder we shall not be surprised to hear either prosecution or the defence calling upon a ghost or an ancestor to testify. We shall see a witchdoctor in full regalia with his or her African drum and the scarred bare feet dancing up a storm in the dock as part of the testimony. This testimony will be recorded and kept as court records for researchers to access, this can only happen in our courts.
Police in their gathering of evidence have been known to engage ‘superior’ forces such as consulting spirit mediums or traditional healers who masquerade as prophets or soothsayers, if not outright sorcerers. Remember the circumstances leading to the fatal shooting of ace cop Jomo Mavuso, a number of senior officers, five in all, were allegedly lined up by a sangoma (traditional healer) to die one after the other. This sangoma was said to have been hired by a suspect who had had enough of being followed by the cops on the one hand, while on the other it was suspected that it was one of the officers who had waited a lifetime to be promoted. Whatever the case, journalists followed the desperate senior top guns into a renowned sangoma at KaBhudla, who happened to be also the medical or spiritual advisor of the suspect. The suspect died with Jomo after an exchange of gun-fire with the cops but all that evidence or tall tale was never brought to any court.
Another renowned mutiman of Lonhlupheko earned himself headlines for using his mirror to recover stolen vehicles that had crossed the border into the cities of South Africa. Suspects were rounded up after the vehicle was allegedly recovered and brought back this side as exhibits in the local courts. It would have been yet another embarrassment to the courts if the Lonhlupheko mutiman was brought to court to testify against the suspect car-jackers.
To solve complex murder cases, American cops have a budget for psychics who help them locate decaying corpses or discover safely located hideouts for kidnappers and their victims in the heart of thick forests in the United States. I’m, however, not certain whether the evidence of these psychics is admissible in court in the same manner that experts or professionals are brought in to testify such as coroners.
In the former Portuguese East Africa, now Mozambique, hundreds of freedom fighters were made to appear before Father Superior at the now Machava Maximum Prison chapel [entra viva sai morto, come in alive get out dead] to confess their sins of turning their guns against a white man who was sent by ‘god’ himself to colonise Africa, in particular Mozambique. The Father Superior would testify in court in support of a summary execution plea that God had visited him at night in a vision with a list of those to be eliminated. The courts of the time did not hesitate to admit such evidence and act on it accordingly. Maybe our courts are borrowing a leaf from that medieval system of justice.
But we are not strangers to such types of justice systems, kangaroo courts have been responsible for subjecting otherwise innocent people to untold torture all because of either jealousy or lack of a better way to test and manage facts. If a chief has his lips wet for a subject’s young wife for her round bottom, that subject would find himself appearing before some inner council facing eviction for disloyalty to the authority of the great one.
Although this one is not directly linked to the courts, the scenario has equally devastating consequences. At a primary school in Big Bend several years ago, two siblings stole E10 from home to pay a sorcerer so that teachers would not beat them up at school for some misdemeanour. The sorcerer’s magic did not work and the pupils got a thorough hiding, feeling disappointed they went to demand a refund and the sorcerer went to report them to the principal. Parents came to enquire about a missing E10 from the school and the sorcerer was brought it to testify, her word stood and the pupils got yet another round of hiding, courtesy of the oral evidence of the sorcerer.
Come to think of it, now the courts are going to admit weird evidence to be tested at such serious trials as that of murder. Whether the motive was to delay the proceedings or was to set some precedence it is not known to the guy walking the streets but who knows, maybe one day that same precedence would be used by the courts to try citizens in the not-so-distant future. Brave yourself to bring your sangoma to court to beef up the evidence in your favour.
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