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Manicaland traditional leaders accused of extorting from widows

Munyaradzi Goche

NYANGA – A traditional
leader has been forcing relief aid beneficiaries – mostly widows to share their
food with his friends and relatives who are ineligible to benefit from the
programme, it has emerged.
The
Zimbabwe Political Victims Foundation Trust (ZPVFT) coordinator Nyasha Gombe
has since launched a police report against Kamucheka village head Andrew
Chitaka together with his assistant Morgan Dzenga.
Nyasha Gombe is accusing the two of theft and bullying.
He alleges that on August 21, the two ordered at least 30 Action Aid
beneficiaries in Nyanga Ward 2 to give up $60 to select friends and relatives
who are not on the aid list.
Beneficiaries
of the Action Aid relief programme get $180 every month to cushion them against
extreme poverty and deprivation.
Among
the victims of Chitaka and Dzenga’s alleged extortion is Mariam Teta (60), a
window who cares for her orphaned granddaughter.
She
was reportedly forced to hand over $60 to newly-wedded Gabriel Nyakatsapa, who
is close to the traditional leader.
Gombe
said he filed a report at Ruwangwe Police Station Sunday, claiming the
extortionate practice was getting out of hand.
He
said his organisation was deeply concerned at the unethical behaviour.
“As
ZPVFT, we are deeply concerned at this abuse of authority by traditional
leaders and we have since made a police report to protect the rights of these
people,” Gombe said.
Efforts
to get a confirmation of police report were unsuccessful due to bad network
connection.
The
incident open sheds more light on traditional leaders’ influence on aid as they
are often accused of including specific individuals and households on aid lists
while excluding more deserving people on such basis as political correctness.

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