Of nude wizards and flying saucers…
From National Malawi
Police rescue man after `plane’ crash
by Joseph-Claude Simwaka, 29 July 2005 – 06:19:03
A Machinga man should count himself lucky to survive what should have been a fatal `air crash’ in Kachere township after his flying saucer developed what he called a technical fault on his debut test flight from neighbouring Mozambique to his home early Thursday morning.
The man, who identified himself as Justin Mussa, from Mbere Village, TA Kawinga in Machinga, owes his life to police officers from Limbe Police Station, who rushed to the `accident scene’ after local community police reported the bizarre accident, which attracted hordes of people who turned violent when they discovered that the man was, in fact, a wizard.
Police had to shoot in the air to scare away the angry mob who started pelting the self-acclaimed pilot of the magic plane — a woven flat winnowing basket (lichero) — which crash-landed on the roof-top
of Grace Imani’s house in the populous township, about two-and-a-half kilometres from Limbe on the Zomba road.
Imani said she suspected the man was a wizard because of late she had been experiencing a lot of trying times.
Her husband is critically ill at Thondwe in Zomba and she said Allah had answered her prayers by showing her “the people behind her husband’s illness”. She denied assertions that her house was
protected by juju.
Mussa was quickly evacuated and driven away to safety at the police station, where he later confessed he crash-landed at Kachere because his “computers went dead” as he was over-flying a house which
was “magically protected”.
Mussa, who was dressed only in his underwear when the accident happened, said he had gone to Chamba Village in neighbouring Mozambique to collect his `aircraft’ which he had purchased at K450
from a longtime friend of his, whose name he gave as Umali. The friend once lived in Machinga as refugee during the Mozambican civil war which spanned 15 years from 1975.
Mussa, who was later given a pair of trousers by police to hide his nakedness, looked calm and composed as he narrated his ordeal. He said he decided to try juju to gain wealth after trying in vain for years to make ends meet through vegetable growing.
Married with four children, all girls, the `novice pilot’ said he cycled to Mozambique where Umali invited him to go and collect his `plane’ and test fly it home and back.
“I left my bicycle and clothes at Umali’s house and hope to go back to collect them if given a chance,” he said.
Asked if he intended to fly back to Mozambique, Mussa said that would be a nonstarter since the `aeroplane’ was now rendered useless since “the computers (zithumwa or small pillows) that propel it were snatched away from him by an unknown man” as police whisked him away from the crash site.
Limbe Police spokesperson Chifundo Kansunje said Mussa has no case to answer unless the owner of the house he landed on launched an official complaint.
“If the house owner complains, maybe we can press a charge of criminal trespass on him, otherwise witchcraft is not recognised as an offence in our statutes,” Kansunje said.
Mussa said he felt remorseful that he had been involved in voodoo and vowed never to practise witchcraft any more.
“I am ashamed of myself and I know I have brought shame to my family,but I can assure you I will never ever do it again,” he said.