Anele Dube, an information officer at Bulawayo Agenda was arrested by police on Sunday for raising objections during a traditional court held at Ntepe area, the Chiefs homestead where a villager there, Godwill Nyamande was facing witchcraft charges.
Chief Masuku’s court had found the villager guilty of witchcraft and sentenced him to banishment from the area, a sentence that the Bulawayo Agenda employee who hails from the area had objected to.
Bulawayo Agenda director, Thabani Nyoni, told Radio VOP the arrest of the information officer was illegal because police had no jurisdiction over matters that took place at the traditional courts.
“The whole issue is being politicized and as Bulawayo Agenda we see his arrest as an act of punishment and would be punishment against any villager or activist who questions the Chief,” Nyoni said in an interview.
“It’s an abuse of the whole traditional court’s system. If he ever disrespected the Chief, he was supposed to be charged at the traditional court and what this means is that activists and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in the area would not be free to express themselves or campaign freely because they might be arrested for disrespecting the Chief.”
The five day detention of the Bulawayo Agenda activist comes just a month after Chiefs demanded guns and overwhelming prosecuting powers to protect themselves.
The chiefs have also demanded bodyguards during elections, a share in Community Development Fund (CDF), free duty on vehicles, farms, among other demands.