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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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