by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN courts have acquitted three villagers who defied a chief’s order to support the ruling party in the contentious July 30 elections.
Trymore Kutadzaushe (aged 34), Justine Mapfumo (68) and Chipo Mushonga (38) had been facing charges of “disorderly conduct in a public place” under the cumbersome Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutors charged that the villagers, who live in a village in Buhera North constituency of Manicaland Province, allegedly provoked a breach of peace by purportedly insulting Causemore Chimombe, a traditional leader in June last year by insisting they were not voting for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
They pledged to vote for the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party.
In acquitting the trio, the provincial court ruled the state failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt and that the words allegedly uttered by the villagers did not constitute a crime.
Zimbabwean chiefs are accused of partisan politics by aligning themselves with ZANU-PF.
They have played a key role in the country’s political landscape by
compelling their subjects to vote for the ruling party.
ZANU-PF has in turn incessantly rewarded the traditional leaders with perks.
The constitution bars traditional leaders from partisan politics.
– CAJ News