A MADZIWA villager in the politically volatile Mashonaland Central province was allegedly blocked from becoming a village head by Chief Mutumba (Marufu Mandaza) because of his reported links to the opposition MDC-T.
BY SOFIA MAPURANGA
Levias Munhava, the heir apparent, was supposed to become village head in Ward 26 following the death of his elder brother Supren in November last year.
However, Munhava was summoned to Chief Mutumba’s place of residence last week where his cousin and a known Zanu PF activist, Benjamin was installed as village head instead.
Munhava was instead told that he was unfit for the position because of his opposition links, a move which has already brought disharmony in the community.
Munhava confirmed the development to NewsDay Weekender saying Chief Mutumba dared him to explore all avenues to seek redress.
“The Chief told me that I could not be crowned the village head because “ndakasviba” meaning I was dirty,” he said.
Munhava said he responded to the Chief’s statement by arguing that he had bathed to which he was told that he was “dirty” and not fit to be a village head because of his political affiliation.
Contacted for comment, Chief Mutumba dispelled the allegations saying that he had declared Benjamin as the village head based on recommendation by the Munhava family.
“I only acted based on what the family told me to do,” said Chief Mutumba.
He however refused to reveal who in that family had given him the name of the next heir. Chief Mutumba also refused to acknowledge the meeting where he allegedly told Munhava that he was unfit for the Village headman post.
“Who gave you that information?” he queried, before vehemently denying ever holding a meeting with the Munhavas.
Other villagers who were present at the said meeting confirmed the Chief’s actions and said he was notorious for segregating members of his community on partisan lines.
“Our names are written down for government initiatives but we are not given anything when things like fertilizers or seed from the Presidential Inputs Initiative are distributed,” said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Bernard Gandanhamo from Ward 26 in Gandanhamo village, who was dethroned from the village head post for supporting the MDC T, said he was always used as an example by Chief Mutumba on what happens to people who make “wrong” choices and support “wrong” parties.
“My sister, Dzudzai Maridhi who is married and is currently staying in Chigombe Village is the village head. I was dethroned but I understand my name is still at the district administrator’s office,” he said, revealing how Chief Mutumba had told him point blank that he was not fit for the post because he was an MDC T supporter.
Ruth Chanaiwa, who was present at the meeting said the traditional leader told everyone gathered at the event that Munhava had been denied the village head position because government did not allow him to confer such posts to people who supported opposition parties.
“The Chief said if he installed him (Munhava), his job would be finished. He said he would rather install someone else who was perfect,” Chanaiwa said.
Minister of Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture and Heritage, Abednico Ncube could not be reached for comment.