OPUWO - An employee of OK Grocer at Opuwo says she had to seek medical attention after being traumatised by her employers, who used a witchdoctor to try to prove that she had stolen money from the shop.
Albertina Hihepa told Nampa on Thursday that Opuwo OK Grocer supervisor Florence Simasiku and the manager of the shop, Steven !Nomxab, subjected her to witchcraft rituals last month.
“It was embarrassing how I was treated after being accused of stealing N$2 300 from a colleague’s cash register,” explained Hihepa.
The Opuwo resident, who says no evidence was found of the alleged theft, has since opened a case of defamation of character against the shop’s management at the Opuwo police station.
She explained how, on June 26, a fellow employee went for lunch and left her cash register unlocked.
Upon her return, the woman claimed that she suspected that money was missing from the cash register.
The claim was confirmed by the manager, who said the cash was about N$2 300 short after it was counted.
“On the same day, the supervisor went to get a witchdoctor to point out the person who stole the money,” Hihepa noted.
Another female employee was at first singled out as being the guilty party, but after a while, she was released.
Hihepa was then accused of having stolen the N$2 300 after the witchdoctor performed a ritual involving a white substance and a silver bowl.
The witchdoctor explained that the reason she singled out the first suspect was because she had been sitting at the register, where Hihepa is alleged to have sat when the money went missing, it is alleged.
“It was done in !Nomxab’s office, while a number of witnesses looked on. The witchdoctor first applied a white substance to her (witchdoctor’s) eyes and then she applied the same substance between her toes, whereafter she placed a piece of skin on her head. She then pressed a silver bowl against my chest and back,” Hihepa explained the ritual. The witchdoctor apparently claimed that the stolen money was hidden in a wardrobe at her house, and said she would be able to find it if taken to the house.
The parties then went to Hihepa’s house, followed by a convoy of cars filled with curious onlookers who wanted to witness how the money was retrieved from the accused woman’s house.
“When we got to the house, the witchdoctor started to perform her rituals again and entered the house in an attempt to point out where the money was. She, however, failed after searching every part of the house without touching the wardrobe, where she had initially claimed the dissapeared money was hidden,“ Hihepa continued.
The witchdoctor then pushed Hihepa into the street, where a crowd of people had gathered by that time to observe the strange goings-on.
“I refused to move and went back into my house,” said Hihepa, who says it was “the most humiliating thing“ that had happened to her in her entire life, and that she had to see a doctor afterwards since she was in shock.
!Nomxab refused to say anything when approached for comment, while efforts to get Simasiku’s side of the story also proved futile since she would only say that the matter was in the hands of the police.
The Deputy Regional Commander of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Kunene Region, James Karungojo Nderura, yesterday confirmed that Hihepa had opened a case of defamation of character against the shop’s supervisor, the witchdoctor and the colleague who initially claimed that the money had gone missing. She opened case number CR 34/06/2012 with the Opuwo police on Tuesday.
“The complainant in the case was taken to her home after it was alleged by the traditional doctor that the money was there, but in fact nothing was found at the complainant’s house,” Nderura explained.
He further said the OK Grocer also opened a case of theft against Hihepa on the basis that the witchdoctor pointed her out as having stolen the money, but strangely enough no case was opened against the woman who operated the register. - Nampa