A Chimanimani Chief, Timothy Munorowazve Muusha has fined two Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists three goats for defying a local headman‘s directive to vote for the ruling party Zanu PF during the just ended elections.
Brothers Knowledge and Solomon Tambwera were last Saturday dragged before Chief Muusha’s traditional court for allegedly defying headman Charles Manzou’s directive that all villagers in Manzou area should vote for the ruling party Zanu PF during the elections.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com in an interview, Solomon said on the 20th of August headman Manzou purportedly called a villagers meeting in Mutsangani area.
“On the 20th of August headman Manzou called a villagers meeting at Mutsangani area. After the meeting, the headman stood up and started chanting Zanu PF slogans. After the slogans, the headman said he had been send by Chief Muusha to order every villager in the ward to vote for Zanu PF. He said if the villagers ignore his directive, they were going be followed one by one after the elections,” said Solomon.
The CCC activist said after the headman’s address, he stood up and openly challenged the headman that what he was doing was illegal and unconstitutional.
“I stood up and challenged the headman that what he was saying was illegal. I even told the villagers that they should ignore him and vote candidates of their choices. My brother Knowledge also stood up and told Manzou that he was out of order,” said Solomon.
The CCC activists said there stance apparently angered Manzou and a Zanu PF activist identified as Rachel Rupiya who threatened the two brothers.
Solomon said he and his brother were forced to sleep in the bush for almost three days after receiving information that Zanu PF activists were baying for their blood following the incident.
“To our surprise, on the 26 of August we received a letter from Chief Muusha ordering us to appear before his court to answers charges emanating from our protest at the meeting. When we attended the court, the Chief claimed that we insulted him by refusing to heed to headman Manzou’s order to vote for Zanu PF,” said Solomon.
The Chief threatened to banish us from the area but I challenged him to prove his allegations.
“After failing to prove the allegations, the Chief with the concurrence of the headman and Zanu PF activists fined us three goats for essentially exercising our democratic rights. We were given until the end of September to pay the fine,” said Solomon.
After the judgment, Solomon said he also reported the case to the police.
“I am appealing to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to assist us to fight this injustice. We cannot just lose our livestock like this. Both of us are unemployed,” added Solomon.
Headman Manzou admitted holding a meeting on the eve of the harmonised elections with villagers but refuted the allegations he ordered people to vote for Zanu PF.
“I was sent by the Chief to remind his people to vote. I never ordered anyone to vote for Zanu PF as alleged. I even queried why we were holding such a meeting towards an important election. The Chief told me that the directive came from (his seniors) above. At the meeting two young men challenged me and argued that what I was saying to them was not in order as it amounted to forcing people to vote against their will. I informed the Chief about this and he in turn summoned the two young men to his court. He felt insulted by the two’s actions of openly challenging His directive and fined them three goats. They are, however, still to pay the fine,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Chief Muusha confirmed that he fined the two brothers for “insulting” him but could not say how they insulted him.
“They insulted me yet they knew that they were my subjects. I told them we should respect each other so that we can co-exist. It was not even clear what was said at the meeting but the headman told me that the two brothers told him that what he was telling them did not make sense and dismissed him. They disrespected me by dismissing my headman. I have fined them three goats,” said confirmed the Chief.
This not the first time that Chief Muusha has been in the eye of a storm. The Chief who was recently installed and took a delivery of a brand –new Isuzu twin cab a few days before his installation in June this year allegedly threatened is subjects with unspecified action if they vote for CCC during a meeting held at Muusha primary school.