A Kwekwe man who was found with a huge python in his vehicle in the city centre on Tuesday said neither the car nor the snake belongs to him.
Tatenda Mutema (31), handed himself to the police after the snake was successfully retrieved from his Toyota Wish by rangers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks).
Speaking to the Chronicle, Mutema, a soldier based at 5 Infantry Brigade just outside Kwekwe, claimed that the owner of the vehicle owns a plot near the army barracks. He said:
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I do not even know the name of the owner of the car, to be honest. I met him one day when I was on my way to Kwekwe from the barracks.
He asked me if I had a driver’s licence which I produced and he gave me the vehicle to drive.
Mutema said on the following day, the owner of the vehicle asked him to drive him to Bulawayo. He added:
I drove him to Bulawayo together with two other women. Upon arrival, he and the ladies hopped into a brand-new Honda Fit Hybrid.
He then asked me to drive back to Kwekwe as he said he was on his way to South Africa.
Mutema said he was under instruction not to use the money he collected from passengers but to take it to the man’s family at the farm. He said:
I then went to the farm where I left some cash and drove away. On my way from the farm, I gave another man a lift whom I asked what exactly the owner of the vehicle did in life because I had seen brand new cars at his farm and was shocked. The man told me all he knew was that the man was a sangoma.
Mutema said he didn’t take the order not to use the man’s money seriously. He proceeded to pick up a female friend and decided to use some money he had collected to buy the friend lunch. He said:
I took a US$10 note to buy lunch. Upon returning I opened the door and was shocked to see part of the dashboard broken.
When I checked in the back seat I noticed a huge snake and quickly grabbed the girl and locked the car.
… I did not run away, I was there when the rangers removed the snake. I was still in a state of shock and I feared the people’s response.
The humongous reptile brought business to a standstill in the city centre as hordes of people stampeded to get a glimpse of the python.
Rangers from Zimparks said there was nothing sinister about the snake.
Mutema was charged for possession of a python which is a protected species.