By Richard Muponde
A Chipinge-based Zanu PF member heaved a sigh of relief after he was acquitted and discharged for stealing party regalia and $100 from a ruling-party colleague.
Prosper Sithole (42), of Chief Mutema in Chipinge, was acquited for lack of evidence.
He was acquitted by Chipinge magistrate Joshua Nembaware at the close of the State case on Tuesday after denying the charge last week.
Sithole said the allegations emanated from the rivalry which existed between Chipinge Central legislator Raymore Machingura and the party primary elections losing candidate, Dorothy Chitima’s supporters.
“I belong to Zanu PF together with the complainant, Ivy Mhlanga, but trouble started last year during the party’s primary elections. The complainant was supporting Dorothy Chitima, while I was supporting the eventual winner, Raymore Machingura, who is now MP for Chipinge Central,” Sithole said.
“The allegations are politically-motivated. The other issue is that she was the school development committee chair and she was voted out in my favour, so she is a bitter person.”
Nembaware, in his ruling, said the State had failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt, which left the court with no option, but to acquit and discharge Sithole.
Prosecutor Shamiso Ncube said on August 16 last year, Mhlanga was invited to attend a party meeting at Paidamoyo Business Centre.
Sithole was also part of the meeting.
During lunch hour, Sithole allegedly went to where Mhlanga was seated at the back of a party vehicle while having her lunch.
He noticed some Zanu PF T-shirts which were in Mhlanga’s bag and demanded that she distributes them to party supporters present, but the complainant allegedly refused.
Sithole allegedly grabbed the bag and ran away, but returned it later.
Mhlanga later indicated that her Zanu PF T-shirts and $100 were missing and reported the matter to the police, leading to Sithole’s arrest.