By Farai Sibanda
Binga, October 29, 2013 – A Binga traditional leader, Chief Sinamagonde has fired 15 village heads in his area, accusing them of sympathising and campaigning for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T party during the July 31 harmonised elections.
Councillor Themba Munkombwe of Lusulu area in Ward 17 which falls under Chief Sinamagonde told Radio VOP on Tuesday that the 15 village heads were summoned to a meeting at the traditional chiefs’ residence at the weekend where they were informed that they were no-longer village heads, accusing them of actively campaigning for the MDC-T party during the elections in which President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party won resoundingly, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
“The chief called for a meeting with all village heads at his homestead in Chuuzya village at the weekend. He then told them he was not happy that some of them had become MDC-T activists and had
campaigned for the party during 31 July elections. He immediately fired 15 village heads and replaced them with villagers aligned to him and are known Zanu PF activists,” said Councillor Munkombwe who belongs to the MDC-T party.
There are over 60 village heads under Chief Sinamagonde area.
“We are surprised by the decision by Chief Sinamagonde to fire these village heads. He has even promised to fire more saying that he cannot work with people with MDC links,” said Councillor Munkombwe added.
Some of the 15 fired village heads include Dickson Mapule, James Simoloka, Timothy Siabuse and Moses Siambula. Mapule told Radio VOP that they were shocked by the decision to fire them saying the chief is the one who has turned into a Zanu PF activist.
“We are shocked by Chief Sinamagonde’s move. Infact he is the one who is a politician and not us. He is accusing us of being MDC-T activists, which is a lie. He just wanted his right-hand men who are mostly Zanu PF activists to head villages but we are not going to allow that to happen. We will continue with our duties. You don’t get appointed as a village head but you inherit,” said Mapule.
Binga has been a stronghold for opposition political parties since independence. The district was a PF Zapu stronghold since 1980. Zanu PF only managed to run Binga after “swallowing” PF Zapu under a “unity” agreement forged in 1987. From 2000, following the formation of the MDC, people in the area reverted to their anti-Zanu PF stance. The district has two parliamentary constituencies of Binga South and North which are currently under MDC-T legislators. During the 31 July Zanu PF managed to grab two council wards in the district. Zanu PF’s Saina Muntanga and Antony Sibanda won in Ward One and Ward 21 respectively.
Binga is one of the poorest and under developed districts in the country and is currently facing serious hunger . Most parts of Binga have no schools, clinics, dams, roads and bridges while some children travel up to 10 km on foot to reach the nearest school. The few available schools are dilapidated.