The sexual assault case against Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira has taken a new twist with claims that a deep-seated family feud and a protracted chieftainship wrangle could be behind the whole saga.
The matter in which Charumbira, who is also the president of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), is accused of indecently assaulting a married woman who is said to be his niece, is yet to go before the courts but has been reported to the police in Masvingo.
A group of family members and relatives of the embattled chief has come together in his defence citing family history, the chief’s relation to the alleged victim and various ‘inconsistencies’ in the allegations.
They have penned a document which they say would be filed with the police.
In the document that has been leaked to StandardPeople, the family says they had investigated events surrounding the incident that resulted in charges being laid against Charumbira.
They said indications were that this was “a calculated political attack meant to destroy his career as president of the Chief’s Council and also an onslaught to force him to relinquish his post at the continental legislative body.”
The family also raised issues with the relationship between the chief and his alleged victim who is said to be his brother’s daughter.
“Charumbira’s accuser is a distant fifth generation questionable niece and there are murky family roots between the pair,” the document reads.
“The relationship between the pair cannot be traced to the great Charumbira progenitors, Mudavanhu and Chainda who are widely known to be the great ancestors of the Sipambi clan with Chief Charumbira being the two progenitors' direct descendant.”
The document makes allegations to the effect that the victim’s family is working with a prominent South African businesswoman and a former MP in Botswana (name withheld) to topple Charumbira from his post at PAP using the alleged sexual assault case.
The businesswoman is said to have engaged a South Africa-based gender violence lobby group, Kwanele Foundation to stage a demonstration denouncing Charumbira at the PAP headquarters in Midrand, South Africa last month but it flopped.
“They wanted to replace Charumbira with one of the four PAP vice presidents, (name supplied), who is also a close ally of the SA businesswoman,” the document added.
“We have information that the victim’s family has created a WhatsApp group titled ‘'Sky Media 206’' and has also created a fake twitter account to coordinate the hysteric attacks against Charumbira.”
The document further alleges that before the reported sexual assault incident in March, there had been another sting operation in February.
It involved an unnamed woman in Masvingo who had been approached by Charumbira’s rivals to make sexual advances to him and to take his nude pictures in return for a house and a car.
“It has emerged that these are the same people who, after failing in their initial attempt, engineered this recent sexual assault case.
“Her (the victim's) father was at one time a campaign manager of one of Charumbira's known political nemesis in Masvingo West and that does not escape us as a possible motive to destroy the chief,” the document reads.
“The father is also involved in the chieftainship wrangles pitting Charumbira and his foes that are out to dethrone him.
“The victim’s mother (name withheld), a school headmistress also in Masvingo Province, has been very inactive in the case, a situation that raises eyebrows.”
The family said they were aware that the plot to destroy Charumbira continued to thicken with reports that the victim was being pushed to petition the Chiefs Council in a fresh bid to jettison the council president from office.