MVUMA - Seven people from Mvuma's A1 \Central Estates Resettlement Scheme who had their cattle and goats impounded by Chief Chirumanzu are bitter after Senior law officer at the Gweru Magistrates Court Samuel Pedzisayi, the Provincial Public Prosecutor declined to prosecute cases of alleged stock theft and contempt of court they brought against Gerald Mudzengi who is Chief Chirumanzu.
What surprised the complainants in the cases is that a trial date of February 8 was initially set for their cases to be heard but were later told that the matter had been postponed because the Chief had a meeting in Bulawayo.
They got shocked when instead of getting the new trial date they received letters from the Zimbabwe Republic Police indicating that the court had declined to prosecute their cases because they were now considered civil.
Christopher Magwaza, a war veteran who had persisted with the cases for several years cried foul and alleged that there was a powerful political hand supporting Chief Chirumanzu to the extent that he was not being prosecuted.
"We had serious problems just to have dockets opened against the chief because all Police officers in the Midlands are afraid to arrest him. We had to go to Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) to report our cases and dockets against the Chief were only opened after the PGHQ intervened.
"Now the matter is send to the courts and a trial date is set and we are shocked once more that the courts reversed their initial decision to prosecute and they turn around and say a clearly criminal case is civil.
"There is a powerful political hand protecting the chief at the cost of poor, suffering innocent civilians," said Magwaza.
The argument of the complainants is that Chief Chirumanzu had been impounding cattle and goats from people who he alleged worked on a Chisi but he was doing this to people in a resettlement area which according to the law is not under his jurisdiction.
They also said there was no record of trial of cases where the complainants were found guilty by the chief.
"The law says clearly that it's criminal for a chief to impose penalties over people that he has no jurisdiction over. There is nothing civil about that; it is criminal. There are sections in the law that clearly says this," said Magwaza.
The court also declined to prosecute Chief Chirumanzu for contempt of court this was after he was ordered by a court to return goats he had impounded but did not do so.
The complainants whose cases the court declined to prosecute are Ellen Tadiwa, a widow who lost her only ox to the chief, Violet Bare, Giftha Pasipamire, Nhamo Musanduri, Augustine Chirume and Anyway Nhakara.