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A PASTOR and a bricklayer have been jailed for three years and four months for assaulting a suspected wizard before burning his church.

Lusaka Magistrate Mwandu Sakala yesterday jailed the pastor Mathews Nkwema, who is also a welder, and Moses Tonkanya after finding them guilty of arson and assault from the incident that happened in Maloni Compound in Lusaka West.

Evidence before the court was that on January 15, 2018, Nkwema and Tonkanya found the victim Penias Zulu, who is also a traditional doctor, bathing in charms near the toilet outside his house.

The two then asked Mr. Zulu why he was bathing in charms outside the house at night and he told them that the charms were meant to remove bad luck from his body so that he could find a job.

Incensed with his explanation, the duo alarmed the situation and a mob appeared on the scene and descended on Mr. Zulu whilst he was still naked after accusing him of practicing witchcraft. The mob also followed Mr. Zulu’s wife Monica inside the house and assaulted her while she was still asleep.

The mob then tried to burn the couple alive with tyres but the two were saved by good Samaritans who advised the crowd to take them to the area chairman who later decided to have the two taken to police.

While they were still at the chairman’s house, a church structure that Mr. Zulu had erected near his house was set on fire alongside all household goods, including his traditional medicine practicing certificate and K5, 000 cash that was in a suitcase.

Passing judgment yesterday, Magistrate Sakala said regardless of where Mr. Zulu was found bathing in charms, the mob was wrong to have taken the law in their own hands.

She also found that it was clear that Nkwema and Tonkanya intended to destroy Mr. Zulu’s church and that the two did not act alone but they were consistently identified by the victims as the people who assaulted them and wanted to burn them alive.

“I don’t accept the accused persons’ evidence that they were at the victims’ house to help Penias Zulu and his wife. If that was the case, he would not have brought them to court and it is very easy not to forget the person who is assaulting you especially if you have known them for a long time.

“I find that the State has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and I find the accused persons guilty and convict them accordingly.”

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