Chimanimani–Two Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists have dragged to court, a traditional chief from Manicaland province for alleged politically-motivated threats and intimidation.
The duo is now committed to a safe house as it still fears persecution.
Recently, Chimanimani chief Timothy Munorowazve Muusha fined the two activist brothers, Solomon and Knowledge Tambwera, three goats for choosing to vote the opposition at the August harmonised elections.
Muusha is the clan’s 13th chief and was installed in early June 2023, just under three months before the polls.
In the run-up to the elections, a village head under Chief Muusha, Charles Manzou, ordered the electorate from his jurisdiction to vote the ruling Zanu PF party but the two CCC members openly defied the directive.
They were forced to spend a reported three days hiding in nearby bushes before the elections, fearing victimisation by Zanu PF supporters and have since transferred to a safe house for their own security.
The matter was escalated to the chief’s court and Muusha fined them the goats a few days after the 23-24 August elections.
Zimbabwean law prohibits traditional leaders from participating in active politics, while Section 67 of the constitution accords every citizen the right to associate with a political party or representative of his or her choice.
The chief, however, was subsequently forced to reverse the controversial judgment following the intervention of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and media coverage of the incident.
During a traditional court session held two Saturdays ago, the chief also withdrew similar charges against another CCC activist, Isaah Mapunga, who had been accused of campaigning for the opposition party in the area.
Mapunga of Nyamusundu village had appeared before the chief in mid-September but his case failed to proceed because the complainant, a Zanu PF councillor, Lovemore Utseya, did not turn up for the hearing.
Despite the chief’s withdrawal of the case, the Tambwera brothers decided to lodge a complaint against him for reportedly threatening them with unspecified action.
NewsHub established that the Tambweras were willing to let the matter rest after Muusha reversed his judgment but had to seek legal intervention following the alleged verbal threat made by the chief.
The case was initially set down for last Friday at the Chipinge magistrates’ court but was postponed to an unspecified date because Chief Muusha had prior commitments.
The litigants’ lawyer, Tariro Tazvitya from ZLHR, referred all questions back to his clients.
“On this one, please talk to my clients. They are the only ones who can give you the details,” said Tazvitya.