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    Friday, 1 April 2016

    Chief Chirumanzi taking away people’s cattle over ‘chisi’


    - Scores of people from Chirumanzu have complained that their Chief; Gerald Mudzengi is impounding their cattle and goats for working during chisi (a day that is sacred by culture).
    They complained that the fines are too hefty and are leaving poor villagers impoverished as the chief's policemen are impounding the last beasts that they use for ploughing and sometimes they take several beasts and goats from one person.
    Chief Chirumanzi intially refuted the allegations but proceeded to impound the beasts when The Mirror told him that it had documentary evidence.
    Chirumanzi district administrator said he could only comment if The Mirror reporter can see him face to face.
    The outcry is biggest in the Central Estates resettlement area of Mvuma.
    Several farmers from the resettlement area said they were shocked to find their cattle no longer in the kraals, after they had been taken by the chief's messengers.
    Ellen Tadiwa, a widow from Village 28 in Nyagari section, said she was ploughing in her field with two oxen including one which she had borrowed from a neighbour.
    She was allegedly approached by eight men, including a police officer of the neighbourhood watch committee who demanded a beast and a goat from her as a fine for failing to honour the chief's sacred day, which is Thursday.
    "I pleaded with them to leave my ox for it was the most valuable asset that my husband left for me and that my family depended on that ox for ploughing in the fields. They removed it from the yoke and took it with them," she said with tears streaming down her cheeks.
    Tadiwa said after taking the ox, they proceeded to the goat pen to take a goat.
    "I then pleaded again with them because I had already sold the goats to someone who still needed to collect them. They left with my ox," she said.
    Some farmers in the resettlement area who were accused of defying the sacred day however managed to recover their beasts that had been taken.
    Augustine Chirume of Plot 5, Nyagari in the Central Estates is one of those who managed to recover his beast from the chief's messengers with the help of some neighbours.
    "I had gone to work in my field, a distant from my home when I came back to find one of my cattle missing. I was informed that Chief Chirumanzi's messengers had come and took it in my absence. I instantly informed my neighbours who went after them and managed to bring it back."
    Farmers in the resettlement area argue that they are not under Chief Chirumanzi's jurisdiction and therefore they don't answer to him.
     "As commercial farmers in resettlement areas, here we are concerned with maximising food production and therefore every single day is important to us.
    ''We have appealed to the local authorities to settle this matter between us and the Chief but nothing has been done, yet we continue to feel being oppressed as small scale farmers," Chiristopher Magwaza, a war veteran of 179 sub division in the Cental Estates, said.
    Several chiefs said working on chisi was a punishable. There however, said a fine of a goat was the most a chief can demand.
    "However, a goat can be the biggest fine one can be ordered to pay as fine. Even so, the goat paid as fine is not kept as one's property but is slaughtered and eaten at the chief's court," one of the chiefs said.local news

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