New Era (Windhoek)

24 January 2013

Namibia: Shocking Testimony Against Angolan Witchdoctor

Oshakati — Victims who claim to have been infected by an Angolan witchdoctor, who is alleged to be HIV positive, have one by one made confessions in the ongoing trial in the High Court in Oshakati.

"I witnessed him having sexual intercourse with three of my fellow patients. Once in his bedroom with a woman (name known) and once in a green net cage inside the homestead with a girl whom I only remember by her face and once in the bush with a girl who was also a patient from Luderitz," one of the victims of the wealthy Angolan witchdoctor Bonifatius Mbwale (65) told the High Court at Oshakati.

As she continued narrating her ordeal, the 25-year-old woman whose identity cannot be revealed because of her HIV status and rape claims, said she got to know Mbwale in April 2010, while he was still at Omutaku village in Omusati Region. At the time he was practising as a traditional healer and he was running his practice from one of his wives' homes. The woman claims that after a series of sexual abuse incidents, which involved her and a number of other women, she threatened to report Mbwale to the authorities.

She also went to the Ongela State Hospital where to her horror she tested positive for the HIV virus. Mbwale kept her close to him, and he even bought her a car, a bed and a television set in exchange for her silence. Relating back to her first encounter with Mbwale, the woman claims that her mother took her to the renowned traditional healer, after years of alleged sexual abuse by forces of witchcraft, which caused her back and abdominal pains.

Mbwale confirmed that she was indeed afflicted by such forces when she was taken to him at Omutaku. The woman alleges that Mbwale offered the diagnosis without her (victim) telling him anything. She said Mbwale had the ability to tell his clients what their problems or afflictions were without consulting them first.

She said the process is done by 'screening' his clients simply by looking through notes of currency provided by them. The woman claims that her mother left her at Mbwale's place and went back to their village, which is near Oshikuku, since she needed to get special medication, based on what she was told by the witchdoctor.

The woman claimed that she had to endure threats and rape at the hands of the popular medicine man during that time. "He once again told me that I was pregnant with a ghost and he needed to put medicine inside me that would pump out the pregnancy. He then took a whitish medicine and applied it on my face, my chest and in my private parts. He then asked me to lie on his bed and he had sexual intercourse with me," the woman continued her testimony.

The woman claims that the incident took place a day after she had rejected him, but went back to him a few days later after he had threatened her physically and verbally. Mbwale has been in custody since November 2011.

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