HomeLocal NewsMuzorewa ally loses govt compensation bid

Muzorewa ally loses govt compensation bid

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A BID by a follower of the late Bishop Abel Muzorewa’s party to claim monthly compensation from government, as an ex-political detainee during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle has been dismissed at the High Court.

BY staff reporter

Tshinga Dube
Tshinga Dube

Jimitias Chigurugudu, a member of the United African National Congress (UANC), had sued War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube and war veterans’ association chairperson, Chris Mutsvangwa for allegedly denying him his dues.

But presiding judge, Lawrence Kamocha found Chigurundu’s four months’ detention under the white rule as falling short of the six-month threshold for one to qualify for compensation under the government scheme.

In his court papers, Chigurugudu said from December 1975, he was an active member of the UANC in Triangle and used to mobilise villagers to attend political meetings, where donations in cash or kind was collected for the freedom fighters.

He claims to have been arrested in January 1977 and charged with contravening the Law and Order Maintenance Act.

He further says he was tried at the Chiredzi Magistrates’ Courts and sentenced to five years in prison.

However, four-and-a-half years of the sentence were suspended leaving him facing a six-month jail term.

Chigurugudu was later released four months into imprisonment after two months of the sentence were also suspended on good behaviour.

But some 30 years later, Chigurugudu would find himself regretting his lenient sentence after he was found to be less qualified for compensation.

This happened after he in 2007 approached the War Veterans, Ex-Political Prisoners and Detainees Board seeking to be considered as an ex-political prisoner.

His request was turned down as his four months in prison fell short of the minimum six months required to qualify as an ex-political prisoner.

Chigurugudu then brought an appeal against the decision at the High Court and also sought to benefit from government’s monthly grants paid to other war veterans, ex-political detainees and restrictees.

Justice Kamocha dismissed his claim, saying he had served less than the required six months.

“The clear intention of the legislature is that the person must literally be imprisoned, detained or restricted at the very least for a period of six months for activities relating to the bringing about of the independence of Zimbabwe,” Justice Kamocha said in his ruling.

“The applicant (Chigurugudu) had an effective sentence of six months, but was actually imprisoned for four months. In my view, what is relevant is the four months, which he actually spent in prison is not the effective of six months.

“He spent the remaining two months out of prison after his release on June 18, 1977. In the result, his application fails and is hereby dismissed with costs,” the judge said.

UANC president, Muzorewa died in 2010 at the age of 84 years and received a low-key burial in Mutare.

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