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The BBC's Grant Ferret in Harare
"The farmers' union lawyers' said please don't send Mr Hunzvi to jail"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 02:24 GMT
Traditional healer sues Hitler Hunzvi
Chenjerai Hunzvi
Hunzvi: "Wanted to be loved more by the president"
By Joseph Winter in Harare

Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans, is being sued by a traditional healer who claims that he has not paid her fees.

Sarudzai Isaya told a court that Chenjerai Hunzvi had asked her to give him charms, so that President Mugabe "could love him" and appoint him a cabinet minister.

The 36 year-old traditional healer, or ng'anga, also claims to have used her mystical powers to help Mr Hunzvi obtain bail 2 years ago, when he was in prison on charges of fraud.

Isaya went to court claiming that Hunzvi never paid her $6,000 fee they had agreed.

The war veterans' leader denies ever requesting any services from the ng'anga and says she's trying to extort money from him.

However, he did admit that she had once sprinkled water at his house and performed a ceremony which he says he did not understand.

Jail challenge

Mr Hunzvi has complained to the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association about Ms Isaya, which has expelled her for charging exorbitant fees.

Last year, there was widespread speculation that Mr Hunzvi would be named Minister for War Veterans but despite playing a crucial role in Zanu-PF's election victory, he was not appointed to cabinet.

Isaya claims that Hunzvi gave her a grinding mill as part of the fee, but Mr Hunzvi says that he only gave it to her for safe-keeping.

According to local newspaper reports, he told the court that when he asked for his grinding mill back, she threatened to send hares, fish and baboons to bewitch him.

Mr Hunzvi even issued a challenge to the ng'anga, saying that if she was the one who had got him released from prison, she should send him back.

Courting controversy

Hitler Hunzvi is a man who is rarely out of the news.

Last year, he spearheaded the violent invasion of white-owned farms in support of President Mugabe's policy of land reform.

Elected to Parliament last year, he is currently waiting for judgement to be given on charges that he defrauded a state fund of the equivalent of US$40,000.

Last week, he led demonstrations against The Daily News which was bombed over the week-end.

With judgement still to be handed down in his fraud case, Mr Hunzvi jail challenge to Ms Isaya seems to be the statement of a man supremely confident of his innocence.

Unless he no longer believes in her powers, after he was left out of government.

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28 Jan 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe newspaper bombed
17 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
The politics of fear
29 Jan 01 | Africa
Daily News hits the streets
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