Chief Charumbira accused of bullying Masvingo villagers

A SWORN affidavit filed at the High Court by Takanayi Mureyi, the MDC-T losing parliamentary candidate for Masvingo West, claims Chief Fortune Charumbira intimidated villagers and allegedly forced them to attend Zanu PF rallies in the run-up to the July 31 elections.

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Mureyi had attached the affidavit to his application for an order barring Charumbira from addressing political gatherings and threatening opposition party members.

Judge Justice November Mtshiya this week dismissed the application, saying as a traditional leader, Charumbira could not be interdicted from addressing his subjects, adding Mureyi should have taken his petition to the Electoral Court and reported the matter to police.

However, the affidavit had testimonies from villagers who also claimed massive intimidation in the run-up to the polls.

In his affidavit, Mureyi alleged people in the constituency had voted for Zanu PF under duress after being intimidated by Charumbira, who is also president of the Chiefs’ Council.

Chikati Gwisai, a villager from Charumbira communal lands said: “Village head Sunny threatened me and other villagers and said our heads would be thrown in to the Mutirikwi Dam if we did not vote for a Zanu PF candidate in Masvingo West.”

Another villager Kephas Marisa claimed in his affidavit that villagers were coerced, harassed and threatened with violence if they did not vote for Zanu PF.

“Charumbira said if Zanu PF lost in the July 31 elections, the re-run of 2008 violence would take place,” Clemence Chitoko, another villager said in his affidavit.
Other villagers claimed Charumbira force-marched them to attend Zanu PF rallies.

“Meetings are called when (sic) people are told the prospect of a war if they vote for the opposition and that they face eviction from their homes and fields,” Isaiah Taruvinga said.

Mureyi also said Charumbira was supposed to protect the interests of all villagers and be non-partisan.

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