Headmen fined for supporting MDC

CHIMANIMANI - Two village headmen appeared in a traditional court on Saturday and were ordered to pay five head of cattle each for supporting the MDC.
Pishai Muchauraya, the provincial spokesperson for the Tsvangirai MDC reported early this month that Zimbabwean authorities, had embarked on a

witch hunt for people perceived to be linked to exiled opposition official Roy Bennett in Manicaland province.
Vhaisai Munjoma and Fabion Musukutwa are accused of attending a rally that was addressed by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Mutare last month where he received a beast on behalf of Bennett when he was honoured by the party’s provincial leadership.
Traditional leaders are expected to support the ruling Zanu (PF) but these two are reported to have been openly defiant. The local MDC leadership, including Muchauraya, attended the court hearing which was held at the home of Chief Mutambara in Chimanimani.
Chief Mutambara is related to the two headmen. The Chief was recently reported to have been forced to publicly denounce the MDC, as part of the ongoing retribution campaign in Manicaland. A stage-managed press conference attended by ruling party officials, including the District Administrator Smart Chindawande, was allegedly set up and given ample coverage by the province’s weekly Manica Post newspaper.
Muchauraya said two journalists from the paper also attended the kangaroo court and allegedly testified that the headmen had been quoted by the paper declaring their support for the opposition party at the Tsvangirai-led rally last month.
Muchauraya said even though the chief succumbed to pressure his relatives have refused to be intimidated. He said the headmen refused to pay the fine of 10 cows and said they will contest the ruling in a legal court. The MDC official said, “They are going to take the case to the superior courts or competent courts of the country, not these traditional courts because they also argued that the traditional courts have no power to preside over political cases.”
Pishai Muchauraya believes the traditional leaders are also being victimised because of their liberation war redentials. Vhaisai Munjoma is a war veteran and is reported to have spent five years in detention with Robert Mugabe at HwaHwa. – Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa

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