Mazowe North MP Retired Major Cairo Philbert Mhandu (Zanu PF) has warned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai could be arrested if he fails to attend Chief Negomo’s traditional court on Saturday to answer charges of allegedly paying lobola/roora during the “sacred month of November” in contravention of traditional customs.
Mhandu is an aide of the chief who, together with a fellow aide, Watson Baziwell, accompanied Chief Negomo, Luscious Chitsinde, to serve the summons at Tsvangirai’s offices at Charter House on Wednesday.
Last month, the MDC-T leader is alleged to have paid bride price for Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo at her parents’ plot in Christon Bank, Mazowe.
The area falls under Chief Negomo.
Traditionalists have accused Tsvangirai of breaching traditional norms, saying traditional marriages are forbidden in November.
“We expect Tsvangirai to come to the court on Saturday (tomorrow) and not try to play their dirty politics on this important issue. If he does not come, we will issue a default judgment and issue a warrant of arrest,” Mhandu said.
But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora dismissed the move as “awkward and legally foolish behaviour of Chief Negomo”.
“We are astounded that Chief Negomo has chosen to abandon acting like a chief for behaving like a Zanu PF activist. After having booked in at a five-star hotel in Harare, he sought to be accompanied by Zanu PF MPs and people widely accused of fanning an orgy of violence during the 2008 election under the nose of Chief Negomo.”
Mwonzora said it was well known that acts of rape, arson and destruction, among others, were committed by Zanu PF activists, but Chief Negomo had not summoned anyone of them to his court.
“This is a clear manifestation of the chief’s approval and complicity in activities of these rapists, arsonists and murderers. Despite these acts of murder, arson and rape being reported to the police, they have done nothing.”
The MDC-T claimed Mhandu was involved in the murder of eight of its supporters in the bloody 2008 presidential run-off election in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central.
The party said Mhandu led a “ruthless” campaign for President Robert Mugabe in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential poll.
Apart from directing youths to attack MDC supporters in the villages on May 5, 2008, Mhandu is alleged to have personally assaulted Patrick Mapondera, Cyprian Mapondera and Kempton Macheka,” said the MDC-T.
However, Mhandu dismissed the allegations as baseless and challenged the MDC-T to report the matter to the police so that they investigate and establish if he had a case to answer.
“That is complete nonsense and I am available any time at sub-division number 8 Galloway Estates and they can come direct to me and complain. I have never seen anyone confronting me about that, but they want to tell newspapers. If they claim I killed them, why don’t they tell the police to arrest me and take me to court? I also want them to provide me with the names of people they claim I killed and show me their relatives because I am innocent and I am not afraid to be investigated over malicious allegations.”