By Simbarashe Sithole
Chief Chipuriro of Guruve (real name Clever Mashiki (74) has accused Zanu PF officials of interfering with his judiciary work after they allegedly threatened him with death if he presides over environmental issues.
Speaking during a provincial fire awareness launch in Guruve, Mashonal Central, on Thursday, Chipuriro said he was not a politician and, therefore, politics should not override his work.
“I am happy that this programme has been launched in my area of jurisdiction,” Chipuriro said.
“Of late, I have been afraid to preside over environmental issues after l received death threats from Zanu PF chairpersons. I had to take a back seat and leave them destroy the environment since my family still needs me.”
He added: “That fear is gone now because this thing has been launched here with the chairpersons present. They should know that village heads are important and they work with me in punishing rebellious people. Things have changed now.”
Chipuriro blasted the Ministry of Lands for allocating sacred places to resettled farmers who have since desecrated the sites.
”I would like to castigate the Ministry of Lands for distributing land without consulting us. All our sacred places have been desecrated. Look at this mountain we are seeing here in Siyalima, it is no longer sacred because people have lost their tradition.”
The chief said those who start fires and cut down trees should be brought to his village court to be dealt with harshly.
“From today, I want villagers to come to my court with culprits of veld fires and deforestation whom I will give deterrent sentences. Those who destroy the environment I start by fining them with a beast depending on the gravity of the crime,” Chipuriro said.
Meanwhile, Mashonaland Central province has recorded a 13% increase in veld fires and still remains on third position of the worst affected provinces after Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North.
This was revealed by Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Monica Mavhunga, who was represented by Guruve district administrator Romeo Shangwa at the awareness campaign.
“The province remains the third worst affected province in terms of the area burnt in 2017 where a total of 118 219 ha were destroyed compared to 153 305 44ha in 2018, . . . while other districts within the province like Guruve recorded a decrease in veld fires,” Mavhunga said.
She said the province lost six people due to veld fires last year.