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Chiefs’ Council condemns attack on Chief Murinye

Chief Murinye
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The National Chiefs’ Council has roundly condemned the assault of Chief Murinye by villagers in his area last month following a row over a burial site.

Some traditional chiefs warned that the incident had set a dangerous precedent with serious ramifications on their safety countrywide.

Chief Murinye, born Ephias Munodawafa was on June 28 assaulted by an angry mob at Village 33B in Boroma in Masvingo district after he had angered villagers attending a funeral by ordering them to stop burying a deceased relative at a place deemed sacred (dambakutemwa) as per the customs and traditions of the area.

He, together with three ZRP police details, was severely bashed by villagers including women who were not happy with his decision to bar them from burying their relative at a place of their choice.

A video of the assault went viral on social media with members of the public making funny of the incident. Four villagers were arrested for the assault and arraigned before the Masvingo Magistrates Court and were ordered to perform community service after being convicted.

Some chiefs have come out guns blazing saying the attack on their colleague and the ”light” sentence on the perpetrators would open floodgates to incidences where ordinary people would desecrate the traditional leadership institution.

Speaking during a National Council of Chiefs meeting in Harare on Monday, the chiefs took turns to condemn the assault, saying the lenient sentence sends wrong signals to similar would-be offenders.

Others rapped the imposition of community service saying severe punishment would have been meted on the chief’s assailants to act as a deterrent.

They said chiefs were appointed on the strength of the country’s rich culture and traditions with their positions bequeathed to them by their forefathers. Hence, an attack on one of them was an attack on the country’s foundation.

Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira said chiefs were empowered by Section 282 of the Zimbabwe constitution to be custodians of the country’s culture and traditions.

”Beating a chief is taboo, its an abomination. The body of a chief is sacred. The case of Chief Murinye’s assault is worse because he was beaten up while performing his constitutionally enshrined duties and it is shocking that those who beat him up were consigned to do community service,” said Chief Charumbira.

Other chiefs at the meeting called for a review of the sentence imposed on Chief Murinye’s assailants to send a clear message to would-be offenders while others said a separate trial of the assailants should be done and presided over by traditional leaders around Murinye area to punish the culprits. – Herald