Nyore Madzianike Senior Reporter
VILLAGERS relocated from Marange to Arda Transau were left shell-shocked after it emerged that one of them had reportedly been keeping a skull in his field for the past two years, in a suspected case of ritual killing.
The cranium was discovered on Monday by Brighton Shinga at his garden before investigations showed that it had originated from Mr Herbert Mukura’s field in Tenzi Mavhima’s area.
Some believe the skull was being used to scare away baboons and boost harvests while there also have been reports of ritual killings following the mysterious disappearance of three people from the area.
The skull has since been taken to Chief Zimunya where Mukura and his former worker, Hoseah Muzaniwetu, were called to explain how the skull ended up at his field.
Mukura and Muzaniwetu were accompanied by the village head and other villagers who had once seen the skull before being taken to Chief Zimunya. The two confirmed having seen and laid their hands on the skull at the field for the past two years.
They said they believed the skull was of a baboon.
“I first came to Odzi in 2015 and it was when I got employed by Mukura sometime in November 2015 that I saw the skull when I was working on the fields,” said Muzaniwetu.
Muzaniwetu (36) said he first saw a dog coming from the direction where the skull was, which raised his suspicion before he went to investigate.
“When I picked it, the skull was discharging a heavy stench, which forced me to drop it. I thought it was a baboon’s skull. I left the skull and continued with my work. I kept on seeing the skull over the years and I had never thought of it being that of a human being. All along, I was thinking it was a baboon skull,” he said.
Asked by Chief Zimunya why he kept the skull in the field for the past years without throwing it away and why it maintained its position over the period without being displaced during planting period, Muzaniwetu remained mum.
He later told Chief Zimunya that he left Mukura’s place to stay on a piece of land he had allocated him and it was when he also started hearing stories of the skull.
“After I left his place, it was when I heard that Mukura’s former employee wanted to take the skull to his aunt who is a faith healer in Bocha. I also heard that the skull was taken from the field and placed in a Mukwakwa tree facing the direction of a nearby mountain. I heard all was being done to scare away baboons from ravaging their fields,” he said.
Muzaniwetu said he once came across a ghost on two separate occasions , which he believes had something to do with the skull.
“I once came across a ghost on two separate occasions and I want to believe that it was as a result of this skull. I was still staying at Mukura’s place when it happened,” he said.
On the other hand, Mukura said he only came to know about the skull in January last year. He said he was also of the view that the skull was of a baboon.
“When I saw the skull I called Muzaniwetu who laughed at me saying it was a baboon skull. I never touched it. I stay in town and I only visit Arda Transau once in a while.
“During my visits to the fields I would come across the skull. This year, I also saw the skull at the boundary of my field although it had changed position. It was only on Monday that I was surprised to be told that it was a human head,” he said.
Mukura said he then engaged their village head who suggested the skull be taken to Chief Zimunya. He said they decided to take the matter to Odzi police station where statements were recorded.
Chief Zimunya reported the matter to the police.
“We have to engage the police first and after the police have dealt with it, we will also then deal with it using our traditional means. There have been reports of people using skulls to scare away baboons especially in areas such as Chitakatira. However, I have heard of three people who mysteriously disappeared at Arda Transau,” he said.
Muzaniwetu and Mukura were handed over to the police for further investigations of the matter.