The Mtakataka first grade magistrate’s court has sentenced Gulewankulu (the big dance) Debsen Tcheni to three years imprisonment with hard labor for hacking a 12 year-old boy with a panga knife or machete.
Gule Wamkulu is both a secret cult and ritual dance practiced among the Chewa people.
According a story monitored on Radio Islam’s Wednesday evening news bulletin police prosecutor Martin Kuliyani told the court that on the 28th of July the complainant a 12-year-old George Mbiri was on his way to watch Gulewankulu dance in Kalindiza village where he met Tcheni in a Kamano mask and injured him with a panga knife.
Kamano who is usually armed with blunt objects like panga knife and axe is the most dangerous type of Gulewankulu who doesn’t want anyone to come closer to him including those who had undergone Gulewankulu initiation ceremony.
Prosecutor Kuliyani said that Mbiri did not recognize the person behind the mask but another boy Chikondi who is also a member of the Gulewankulu recognized Tcheni and reported him to police where they arrested him.
Tcheni denied the charges but first grade magistrate Samson Mwambo found him guilty after the prosecution team paraded five witnesses who testified that Tcheni was indeed the one who harmed Mbiri.
In mitigation Tcheni pleaded for leniency in passing judgment saying he looks after his grandmother.
But passing sentence first grade magistrate Mwambo said stiffer sentence was a must to Tcheni as a measure to curb such barbaric acts which he said are common in Ntakataka where people are fond of attacking others under the guise of Gulewankulu.
Debsen Tcheni hails from Kalindiza Village Traditional Authority Kachindamoto in Dedza while the complainant George Mbiri hails from Mulongoti village Traditional Authority Kachindamoto in Dedza.