MDC Activist Fined, Deputy Minister Faces Arrest

Chimanimani,- A Movement for Democratic Change activist in Zhombeni area here, Donald Sithole has been fined a beast by the local headman for allegedly putting up his party's posters in the area while in another incident an MDC minister faces arrest for refusing to pay road toll fees.

Sithole, an MDC activist was last week dragged at headman Saurombe’s traditional court after Zanu (PF) supporters who had seen him putting up MDC posters calling for a meeting reported him to the kraalhead.

The chairperson of the MDC in the area, Lameck Chishakwe said Sithole had been given two weeks to pay the beast or risk being banished in the area.

Chishakwe said the headman said the MDC was not welcome in his area and anyone who was seen trying to campaign for the party will be punished.

"For putting the posters Sithole was fined a beast which he should surrender to the chief before Christmas,” said Chishakwe.

Chishakwe said Sithole was part of the MDC youths who were putting posters in the area alerting party supporters about a meeting which was supposed to be addressed by local MDC- Member of Parliament, Lynnette Karenyi.

Two weeks ago the headman forced villagers to attend and buy Zanu (PF) party cards in the area. One of the villagers among the gathering contacted Karenyi through her mobile phone advising her about the issue. The legislator swiftly raised alarm to the police who immediately stopped the practice.

Blessing Nyamaropa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in Mutare said actions by the the headman were illegal.

“What the headman has done is a violation of Sithole’s rights to support a party of his choice. We urge him to keep a record of the proceedings and the headman’s acknowledgement of the beast. If the issue is formally brought to
our attention we will certainly act as human rights defenders ,” said Nyamaropa.

The headman could not be reached for a comment.

Meanwhile an MDC deputy minister belonging to the Morgan Tsvangirai faction Tongai Matutu faces arrest for refusing to pay the US1 road toll fees along the Masvingo – Bulawayo Highway on Friday.

Matutu who is Deputy Minister for Youth Empowerment and Indigenisation refused to pay the toll fees while on his way to Bulawayo.

Masvingo police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake confirmed the development saying:“We want to arrest him for assaulting ZIMRA (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) officials and subsequently refusing to pay the toll gate fee at Mhandamahwe last Friday. We consider the crime serious since Matutu is a minister who should lead by example.”

Matutu is also among the six MDC-T MPs who are wanted for intimidating Zanu (PF) supporters who had gathered for a rally in Bikita around August this year.

His lawyer Douglas Mwonzora told Masvingo Magistrate Oliver Mudzongachisvo who convicted Matutu that all the crimes levelled against his client were a political ploy by Zanu (PF) to thwart MDC-T in the province.

Matutu is considered to be the strongest MDC –T strategist in Masvingo who crafted ideas which saw the first ever defeat of Zanu (PF) in 14 constituencies.

“Matutu is feared for what he has done so far. As a lawyer who freely represents MDC-T activists and a vibrant young politician, obviously Zanu (PF) is baying to see him being crucified,” said an analyst who refused to be named.

Matutu was also recently convicted of assaulting Chief Serima. – Radio VOP