By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
A SELF-STYLED prophet has been slapped with 36 months imprisonment for illegally keeping a two-metre-long African rock python that he used as part of his paraphernalia to fake exorcisms.
Chusi Bhunu (31) of Village 2, Binje farm, Doma in Mhangura Thursday appeared before provincial magistrate Ruth Moyo, who sentenced him to 36 months in jail, before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour.
He will, therefore, serve an effective 30 months behind bars.
Bhunu had earlier been arraigned before Mhangura magistrate Tapiwa Banda for plea recording, but the court indicated it did not have jurisdiction over the matter.
He was convicted of violating Section 45 (1)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act on his own guilty plea.
The state-led by Review Nikisi told the court that on 3 May this year Bhunu, who is also a member of the Bible Fellowship Apostolic Ministry, was approached by Farai Makumbi who was seeking prophetic healing for his sick wife, Neria Makumbi.
On the same date, at around 8 pm, Bhunu proceeded to Makumbi’s residence at Plot 47, Jechenene also in Doma to perform a healing session for the ailing woman.
It was heard in court that Bhunu was carrying on his back a black traveller’s bag.
As he got into his would-be clients’ yard, the ‘prophet’ took out a green sack containing the snake from the bag before placing it outside the house.
However, two family members, Takemore Chando and Edmore Revesai spotted Bhunu hiding the sack and confronted him over the suspicious luggage.
After failing to gather courage and give a satisfactory answer, Bhunu bolted from the scene and vanished into the darkness, leaving his ‘tools of the trade.’
The following morning, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority game rangers were alerted of the python.
Acting on the tip-off, the rangers arrested Bhunu who indicated to the police how he duped people performing fake miracles using the python, which in court was valued at US$5 000.