VILLAGERS in Chief Chireya’s area of Gokwe are living in fear after their traditional leader embarked on a witch-hunt to victimise people who led a campaign for the Zanu PF candidate who won primary elections for Gokwe Chireya constituency against his will.
In a case which exposes traditional leaders who should be apolitical according to the constitution since they serve people of diverse persuasions, Chief Chireya, born Henry Chidzivo, was supporting Tapiwa Muduvuri during the primary elections and even instructed his subjects to vote for Muduvuri as the parliamentary candidate for Gokwe Chireya.
However, Muduvuri was defeated by the sitting legislator for the constituency, Torerai Moyo, during the recently held ruling party primary elections, which angered Chireya, one of the traditional leaders accused of demanding favours from aspiring candidates.
On 14 April 2023, the chief’s younger brother Jethro Chidzivo assaulted Lovemore Mavhurere Ncube (61) for supporting Moyo. Mavhurere lost four front teeth during the assault. Chidzivo will appear in court at Gokwe centre on 8 May for the assault.
Chief Chireya told The NewsHawks that assault is not a case to talk about in his area since it is just a minor crime. He said Mavhurere was disciplined by his younger brother for supporting a candidate who was not approved by his chieftainship.
“Can we say assault is an issue in my area? He was disciplined after talking nonsense to my younger brother and after that he is our relative who should obey our instructions as the traditional leaders of the area. He was only clapped, that was not serious at all. I was not supporting the sitting legislator, that is true, and we are still waiting for a re-run of the elections although the politburo approved the winning candidates. We submitted our complaint late,” said Chireya.
Efforts to get a comment from Mavhurere were fruitless as he was unreachable on mobile phone.
His younger brother Takwana said his brother was approached by Chidzivo while drinking beer at Ushambo shops in Ward 38 who asked him his name and, after responding, Chidzivo accused him of supporting Moyo during the primary elections and a misunderstanding arose.
He also said his brother was assaulted with clenched fists and booted feet, leading to the loss of four teeth and this is now affecting his day-to-day work at his homestead.
“On 14 April my brother was at Ushambo shops when this guy arrived. He asked him his name and later started assaulting him with fists and booted feet, accusing him of supporting Torerai Moyo’s candidacy during the just-ended primary elections.
This guy together with his brother Chief Chireya were supporting a rival candidate who lost during the elections. The case is before the courts but what surprised us is that he was not put into custody but is going to court on summons, meaning they are being treated as special,” said Takwana Mavhurere.
A Zanu PF politburo member told The NewsHawks that the ruling party leadership is worried by the political power which is now being shown by traditional leaders throughout the country, but there is nothing they can do to stop it since the chiefs are important for mobilising votes for the ruling party.
He said traditional leaders are receiving bribes from aspiring candidates, which also fans factionalism within the party.