HEADMAN Chiadzwa this week reportedly teamed up with his subjects, broke into Anjin Mine and assaulted workers at the diamond plant in protest over a traditional ceremony that the mining concern sponsored before the resumption of mining operations.
This follows last week’s disturbances in which the same headman and his people allegedly ganged up and went on the rampage, destroying clay pots and calabashes of beer that had been prepared for a ceremony which Chief Marange was expected to preside over.
Headman Chiadzwa (Robert Chiadzwa) and 27 other villagers have since been arrested over their invasion of Anjin Mine and appeared before Mutare provincial magistrate Mr Langton Carter on Wednesday facing public violence charges.
They are alleged to have contravened Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
The co-accused include ex-convict, Newman Chiadzwa (66), Shadreck Chipise (61), Mathew Mundondo (38), Jey Kasakara (28), Onias Chiadzwa (53), William Nhunduro (55), Josphat Makaza (37), Mirirai Chiadzwa (46), Onai Marange (40), Irene Sithole (48), Trymore Mangwiro (35), Tinashe Zvinodavanhu (47), Pendai Makotamo (62), Marvelous Gumbo (48), Mika Sanyerwa (44), John Chibiya (49), Gumisai Mugomo (34), Rombe Engai (60), Justin Chiadzwa (75), Beaulah Mawoyo (65), Rosemary Chiadzwa (48), Howard Taremedzwa (54), Jacob Kazambara (41), Gilbert Chiadzwa (41), Bonnie Mujoma (74), Munyaradzi Chenjerai (36) and Hudson Chiadzwa (68).
The suspects — who were represented by Messrs Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga Maanda and Associates and Cosmas Chibaya of Chibaya and Associates — were granted $3 000 bail each.
They were ordered to continue residing at their given addresses, not to interfere with State witnesses as well as not to set foot on Anjin Mine premises.
The case goes for trial on November 22.
Public prosecutor Mr Last Goredema told the court that the crimes were committed on November 2.
The court heard that sometime in July 2021, management at Anjin Mine engaged Chief Marange with the intention of holding a traditional ceremony before resuming mining operations.
Chief Marange welcomed the idea and organised with other headmen under his jurisdiction.
However, Headman Chiadzwa turned down the invitation by Chief Marange, arguing that he was the one who was supposed to preside over the ceremony.
Anjin Mine provided all resources for the ceremony and traditional beer was prepared under the guidance and permission of Chief Marange.
Mr Goredema said on October 28, the headman and his relative, Newman Chiadzwa led a group of about 200 people from the Chiadzwa community to Anjin Mine where the beer was being brewed.
Upon arrival they overpowered security personnel and destroyed all the clay pots and calabashes containing the traditional beer as well as the tents in which the beer was housed.
The court heard that Anjin Mine management did not make a formal report to the police as they wanted to promote peaceful co-existence with the Chiadzwa community.
As a result, a meeting was scheduled on November 2 between the company and the villagers in order to find a solution to the grievances presented by the community.
About 400 people converged at Newman Chiadzwa’s homestead in preparation for the meeting.
It is alleged that Anjin Mine management failed to turn up resulting in the suspects organising an unauthorised demonstration at Anjin Mine’s new processing plant.
“The accused persons forced their way into the Anjin Mine processing plant, and barricaded all the roads leading to the plant with stones. They ordered all employees to stop operations.
“Those who refused to obey their orders were assaulted. The suspects continued with the demonstrations until police arrived and arrested some of the villagers,” said Mr Goredema.
Investigations by The Manica Post revealed that Headman Chiadzwa is blaming Chief Marange for organising a tradition ceremony in the area under the headman’s jurisdiction without his knowledge.
In an unsolicited interview after last Thursday’s clashes, Chief Marange said: “What is happening in my area is just unfortunate. I have a disrespectful and disobedient subordinate in Headman Chiadzwa. He has been acting in this manner for a long time now, and I think I cannot take it anymore.
“I wanted him banished from my area because he does not acknowledge me as the chief. I will be taking up the matter with the relevant Government departments responsible for traditional leadership to have this disobedient headman kicked out of my area.
“He is claiming that our fathers murdered their father, something that never happened. What we all know is that Headman Chiadzwa is the headman of that area simply because he was an assistant to Chief Marange (Murongo) and was simply rewarded for his allegiance by being given the headmanship.
“We did not expect to have these problems from a family that we accommodated. It shows that they are an ungrateful lot. At one point, he went on to the extent of place a sign post inscribed Chief Chiadzwa at his homestead and we had to send people to pull it down.”
Contacted for comment, Newman Chiadzwa, who spoke on behalf of Headman Chiadzwa, dismissed Chief Marange’s allegations.
He said what the latter did was procedural and unethical.
Newman Chiadzwa alleged that Chief Marange was paid money and a beast to facilitate the traditional ceremony on behalf of the diamond-mining company.
“Do you think it is proper that President Mnangagwa comes to Manicaland without the knowledge of the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Matsikenyere? This is exactly what Chief Marange did. He organised this traditional ceremony at our doorstep without our knowledge.
“It is a public secret here that Chief Marange was given a beast and money for him to facilitate the traditional ceremony. We will not tolerate that. We have genuine concerns as a community that we want addressed by Anjin Investments, not this nonsense that the so-called chief is busy organising,” fumed Newman Chiadzwa.
However, reliable sources close to the goings-on confided in this newspaper that information about the traditional ceremony was sent to Headman Chiadzwa, but somehow as a show of resistance, he ignored it.
In a separate interview, Manicaland Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Edgars Seenza said: “I heard about the matter, and I have tasked a team led by the District Development Coordinator of the area in question, Mr Wilson Bore to get to the bottom of the matter. This is something that we really do not expect from the custodians of our culture. We hope the matter will be resolved amicably.”
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Anjin Mine spokesperson, Mr Among Hasha Mhlanga were fruitless as he was not picking up calls. – Manica Post