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Man gets death threats for refusing circumcision

 A Zimbabwean man has fled his homestead after receiving death threats for refusing to be circumcised, it has been reported

Mr Patrick Chauke (46), who comes from Masekesa village under Chief Tshovane in Chiredzi, said he fled his home last month after receiving death threats from the chief and his council for refusing to be circumcised.

“I am a victim of harassment and fear that they will kill me. On 27 July this year, the chief sent his man to take me to the bush for circumcision and threatened to kill me if I refused,” he said.

“I left Chiredzi on 6 August and came to Bulawayo with two of my older children, leaving my wife and our younger child behind.”

Mr Chauke said the circumcision practice was part of their culture.

“It’s not the first time that they are doing this to me. The practice is part of the Shangani culture and is done every year. The only problem is that each year when this is done some people have to be killed and this time it was my turn so I ran away.

“In 2007, I was taken by force and stripped naked in front of people before I got circumcised. I was told that it was my turn to die but managed to survive because during those days there was a birth certificate registration outreach and court officials and police camped in our area so they were afraid.

“A lot of people are dying and others have disappeared and no one knows that. I am the first person to survive the onslaught and they are after my life. The culture of that area demands blood and they eat the flesh of the first person to be circumcised and burn the remains to make concoctions for n’angas.

“At the moment I am under threat and fear for my life. Since I left my wife makes calls everyday saying they are hunting for me and they are even threatening to kill her if I don’t come back.”

Mr Chauke said the chief and his advisors were abusing a lot of people yet nothing has been done to stop that. He also revealed that the case has been reported to the police.

“Those who are circumcised are forced to eat their removed foreskins in order to be strong and I have been brutally assaulted for refusing to take that order.

“Since the 2007 encounter they seemed to have forgotten and I had relaxed only to get the shock of my left in July this year to learn that I was the prime target and so I ran away because I knew what was to follow.”

According to police documents given to Chronicle, Mr Chauke reported his case of assault and abuse to the Legal Advice Centre in Chiredzi on 27 November 2007, who forwarded the issue to the police seeking advice on what to do with the matter.

In response, Chiredzi charge office ordered the arrest of the accused in a document dated 21 September 2007 and wrote the second document on 21 November 2007, indicating that the accused (names stated) were found guilty and liable to payment of a deposit fine of Z$40 000.

However, Mr Chauke said he has lost faith in the police because the problem has continued after three years and the perpetrators are still free.

“Before I came here I ran to the police station at Chisumbanje in Chipinge District but the police took me back to Chiredzi police station and there I was referred to the district administrator who deals with community administration issues with the chiefs.

“The DA took the statement but I could not go back home for fear of being killed and I came here before getting the outcome of what the DA did.

“At the moment, I stay with my brother in Sizinda but I am afraid again that they will kill my wife. I appeal to the law enforcement agents and Government to take action because I am in a desperate situation and a lot of people are being abused and killed,” he said.

Contacted for comment, the acting police spokesperson for Masvingo Province, Assistant Inspector Prosper Mugauri, confirmed that Mr Chauke made an assault report to Chiredzi police station.

“I can confirm that Patrick Chauke reported a case of assault in 2007 and the people who assaulted him were arrested,” said Asst Insp Mugauri.

“However, we have not received his latest report of assault and we advise him to report his case to any nearest police station where he feels free because it is a serious matter.

“No one has the right in our country’s laws to intimidate and threaten anyone,” he said.