Fairness Moyana Hwange Correspondent—
A HIGH Court judge has ordered a 72-year-old Binga woman who “operated on” her granddaughter in an attempt to remove fibroids from her uterus before she bled to death to immediately stop the traditional operations she said she had been practising for years. Justice Francis Bere of the Bulawayo High Court, on circuit in Hwange, made the order as she sentenced Mata Muzamba.
Muzamba pleaded not guilty to murder, but offered a limited plea of culpable homicide for causing the death of her 33-year-old granddaughter, Selina Mugande. The judge sentenced her to 12 months in jail, which was wholly suspended for five years.
Mugande lived with her husband, Lingani Muleya, of Dongamusi village in Binga, and met her death after she approached her grandmother for help as she was having problems to conceive. The old woman “operated on” Mugande in an attempt to remove fibroids which she claimed were preventing her from falling pregnant.
Mugande bled to death after the “surgery”. “You’re not a surgeon, you’re a traditional healer and Zinatha is just supposed to treat people, not perform operations,” Justice Bere told Muzamba.
“Leave that to qualified specialists. Next time a woman comes to you with fibroids, refer her to qualified personnel. You must stop this practice immediately.”
He said she was lucky that the court had taken into account that she was old and illiterate. Muzamba said she did not see anything wrong with the operation as it was a practice that she had performed for many years in Binga.
She also said she had helped many women to conceive using that method. When the judge asked her about her level of education, Muzamba said she never went to school. She was also asked if she was a qualified surgeon, and she replied “no”.
According to the agreed facts between the state, led by Namatirai Ngwasha and defence lawyer, Givemore Muvhiringi, on August 31 last year, Mugande approached Muzamba for help as she was having problems conceiving.
The protruding fibroids on her privates were incised with a razor blade by Muzamba. As a result of the operation, Mugande bled profusely and her condition worsened by the day until she died on September 6 without going to hospital.