MUTARE – Five MDC-T activists were arrested last Friday and charged with public violence after they allegedly stormed a government free seed distribution programme in Samarenga Village, Honde Valley in Mutasa Central constituency, demanding their share of the farming inputs.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Tempers flared when a self-confessed war veteran, Peter Mukangaise, allegedly declared that MDC-T members were not entitled to the seeds and fertilisers sourced under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
This reportedly led to violent clashes with the MDC-T activists who insisted that they were entitled to the free farming inputs.
Police at Hauna Growth Point later intervened and arrested five MDC-T activists — Ward 10 councillor Frank Chitembwe, Rosemary Mukodza, Nyarai Matambo, Job Kusano and Tendai Charachimwe.
Chitembwe and Matambo were released on Saturday after paying $10 admission of guilt fines each, while Charachimwe and Kusano were released without charge following the intervention of ZimRights lawyer Passmore Nyakureba.
But Mukodza refused to pay the fine and is expected to be tried at the Mutare Magistrates Courts on February 23 on a theft charge after she allegedly grabbed a bag of fertiliser.
Mukangaise was released after police recorded a warned-and-cautioned statement from him.
Meanwhile, Chitembwe and Matambo have claimed that they paid the fines under duress and threatened to demand a refund. Mutasa Central MP (MDC-T) Trevor Saruwaka urged Zanu PF officials to desist from monopolising inputs sourced using government funds.
“The inputs were purchased using funds sourced from Treasury, so it’s unfair to distribute them along partisan party lines,” Saruwaka said.
“I want to urge all Zimbabweans wherever they are to demand their share of these inputs and not fold their hands when daylight robbery and corruption is happening before their own eyes.”
He castigated Mutasa district administrator Zebedee Dhliwayo for sidelining MDC-T activists in the distribution of the inputs.
“I am greatly disappointed by the continued abuse of government resources by Zanu PF activists aided by the local DA with the connivance of police. How do you explain the arrest of victims whilst perpetrators walk scot free? As MDC-T we will not be deterred and we will continue fighting this political discrimination and injustice,” Saruwaka said.
The Zimbabwe Human Right Association (ZimRights) has threatened to file a constitutional challenge on the partisan distribution of agricultural inputs by government officials.