Amid hunger in Zim, chief outlaws growing of small grain crops,summons couple for trial

A ZIMBABWEAN couple was scheduled to stand trial today in Hurungwe, Mashonaland
West province before Chief Chundu (born Abel Mbasera) after they were
charged with growing (mhunga) millet crop, which the traditional
leader considers to be a taboo and yet government is promoting the
growing of millet and other small grains to boost food security in the
country.

Ishemel Madhuviko aged 47 years and his wife Prosper Mashanda aged 42
years will on Sunday 15 March 2020 appear before Chief Chundu’s
Community Court, which will be held at Mahawu Secondary School in
Hurungwe District at 2:PM.

Besides answering to the charge of growing millet crop in Chief
Chundu’s area, the couple was  also expected to answer to charges of communicating
with the traditional leader over the phone, asking his wife’s brother,
who is employed as a police officer to plead with the Chief to
persuade him to reconsider his decision ordering the destruction of
the millet crop, threatening anyone who will attempt to destroy the
millet crop and for informing his lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights about the Chief’s decision to outlaw the growing of
millet crop in his area.

Chief Chundu’s decision to outlaw the growing of small grains, which
is purportedly a “traditional” belief, where the growing of millet is
considered taboo and which was practiced during the colonial era, is
at variance with government, which in recent years has been
aggressively advocating and promoting the growing of small grains,
which are drought resistant crops in order to alleviate hunger and
enhance food security in the wake of successive droughts and to
mitigate the effects of climate change in Zimbabwe.