Masvingo—The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Masvingo office says it will decide on what action to take on the aspiring Bikita South lawmaker, Energy Mutodi, after the finalisation of a criminal case in which he is being accused of discharging a firearm at a recent political gathering.
A Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member, John Mupanduki, reported a criminal case against Mutodi for discharging a firearm at Baradzanwa Business Centre in Bikita, Masvingo, where the opposition party was conducting a rally.
Mutodi allegedly fired two shots in the air to intimidate opposition members who were gathered to be addressed by CCC leader Nelson Chamisa on 6 July.
Mupanduki, a resident of the rural Nyika business centre, successfully filed the case on the reports received book (RRB) number 5583028.
Mutodi is the outgoing parliamentary representative for Goromonzi West in Mashonaland East and announced mid-last year that he would be relocating to Masvingo.
He is a former rhumba musician, teacher and deputy minister who was considered to be close to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the run-up to the military assisted coup that removed the now late Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
When asked if Mutodi’s case did not merit disqualification from the race, ZEC Masvingo provincial manager, Zex Pudurai, said they would wait for the courts to make a ruling.
“The issue can be handled by the multi-party liaison committee whose functions are spelt out in terms of Section 160 the Electoral Act. Anything that involves violence is handled by the police, and we will only take action after determination of the case, possibly in a court of law,” said Pudurai.
Under section 160 (c) of the Electoral Act, one of the functions of the committee is “to hear and attempt to resolve any disputes, concerns, matters or grievances relating to the electoral process, including in particular any disputes arising from allegations concerning non- compliance” with a set code of conduct.
The Masvingo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa, has consistently refused to provide a comment on the matter, referring all questions to the law enforcer’s Harare-based headquarters.
NewsHub, however, established that the case is being handled by one Chiweshe, a constable, after Chief Superintendent Taurai Mambure, who is in charge of the Masvingo East policing district, initially refused to entertain the matter when it was brought to him by another CCC member, Simon Ziki.
“Whilst we were dancing to some music, the accused suddenly appeared with his convoy. He entered our venue with his vehicle, which had Zanu PF stickers, and parked his vehicles in the mid of the venue (sic).
“We tried to reason with him and he said ‘hamuite meeting pano,’ in vernacular meaning you are not going to have a meeting here,” Mupanduki’s affidavit, as recorded and signed by Constable Chiweshe, reads in part.
“The CCC members asked him why he was doing such thing and he threatened to kill anyone who dares to come closer to him. He then fired two shots and we started to run for our life (sic),” it further reads.
Mutodi dropped the phone when this journalist introduced himself, and subsequent calls on his mobile were not answered.
Senior CCC Masvingo provincial member and parliamentary aspirant, Jeffryson Chitando, said Mutodi should be disqualified from standing as a candidate.
“At the nomination court, every candidate signs a code of conduct committing to fair and non-violent contest but we are surprised that Mutodi had to go to such lengths to intimidate the people.
“He is not fit to be an MP or even councillor because he cannot adhere to the electoral law which he vowed to defend,” said Chitando.