Mugabe travelled to Gutu Thursday to install Vengesai Rushwaya. Normally this function is reserved for the Minister of Local Government, Ignatious Chombo.
Rushwaya (35) is originally from Zvimba, the president’s rural home area.
Rushwaya once made headlines after assaulting a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) youth with a brick before making a false report to the police that he was the one assaulted.
“I did not come here at the invitation of Zanu (PF) or on government business. I came here on the invitation of Rushwaya, my brother, from Zvimba. I urge you to like him and respect him,” Mugabe said.
“We do not want to here of court battles over the chieftainship. You have to respect Rushwaya,” Mugabe said.
Sources said the battle over the Serima chieftainship dragged to the courts for several years but Rushwaya finally wrestled the power using the political muscle of Mugabe.
“We have been robbed. Our land, our control of Gutu has gone to Mugabe’s cousin, who came in Gutu after he was given a piece of land by our grandfathers. Now he wants to get the lion’s share. It is unfair, but we have nowhere to complain,” said a source.
At the same occassion hungry villagers in the drought prone area appealed to Mugabe for food handouts following poor rains.
“Mr President, we are almost dying. We had poor harvests due to drought. We need your urgent help or else we will starve,” pleaded one villager.
“We had poor rains last year and many people hardly harvested anything. About 1 000 people in the province are in need of food handouts. The most affected are Gutu, Zaka and Chivi districts,’ Masvingo provincial governor and Resident Minister, Titus Maluleke.
In response, Mugabe said: “We will introduce food for work schemes where people will be rehabilitating roads and getting money in return.”