Struggles of a rural woman 1: Gokwe woman travel 50+km on foot to seek justice at Chief’s place

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….says the headman punishing her for refusing a love proposal

Perseverance Javangwe

A Gokwe woman traveled 55kilometers for a day to Chief Nemangwe’s place to seek justice in a matter where the headman in the village is asking her to vacate the place she is staying after accusations that she refused the headman’s love proposal.

According to the information gathered by this publication, the woman identified as Mai Masvibiriri was given the place by the Headman identified as Sabhuku Mupasiwa five years back when Masvibiriri’s husband was still alive but sick during that time. However, the husband, later on, passed away. Masvibiriri claims that last year Headman Mupasiwa proposed to her but she refused and this did not go on well with him prompting Headman Mupasiwa to notify Masvibiriri that she should vacate the premises and find another place to live.

According to Masvibiriri, the headman requested her to vacate the place and make way for his girlfriend identified as Tunye Dhlana who is understood to be a neighborhood police. A source who spoke with this reporter stated that Dhlana has a child with Headman Mupasiwa which is why they want Masvibiriri to leave the premises. According to the source, Mupasiwa says the stand belongs to Dhlana the father of Tunye but surprisingly for the past five years Masvibiriri has never been made aware of this claim.

Speaking in an interview with this publication Masvibiriri reviewed that Headman Mupasiwa made reports to Chief Ngomeni and even Chief Nemangwe in a bid to try and remove her from the place, but both the chiefs advised him to leave her at the place. However, Mupasiwa continues to push Masvibiriri off the premises.

“When my husband fell sick we were given a place to stay. While there my husband passed on and the headman advised that he be buried where we stay since it was his will. Surprisingly now the headman is now proposing his love for me which I have refused. So just because I refused his proposal he is now saying I should leave my stand and find another place to stay in order to make way for his girlfriend.

“Last year his girlfriend came and mark a place just behind my house and built a foundation there. I then went and reported the issue at the Chief’s kraal. But, before that, the headman went and reported the issue to Chief Ngomeni and I felt cheated because he did not do justice to the issue, so I went to Chief Nemangwe to report the case. Chief Nemangwe advised the headman to find another place for his girlfriend, but when we returned the headman went against that. I then called Chief Nemangwe who then sent his police force who came and told me that considering I was given the place by the headman no one was supposed to remove me here.

“The headman kept coming until one day he said you are not supposed to be here, I told you to find another place. Now they keep reporting me to the police and if I go to the police, the headman does not show up for discussions about the issue. When I went to Gokwe, the police said I should return back home since he did not show up. I have gone to Gokwe three times and they keep saying no one showed up and I always return home empty-handed, above all I have a challenge with transport expenses which I cannot afford,” she said.

In order to seek justice in her case, Masvibiriri traveled to Chief Nemangwe’s kraal to seek justice, a distance that amounts to 55km. She traveled through a scary forest alone for the whole day.

Mai Masvibiriri taking a rest, on her way from the Chief Nemangwe

“I went to Chief Nemangwe which is far from home. When I went to the Chief’s place I walked through a scary forest, it took me the whole day to travel there from 4 am to 7 pm. I went there for three consecutive days. I was given a warm welcome, I told the Chief my story about how I was given a new house stand when my husband fell ill. Chief Nemangwe was against Mupasiwa’s idea of taking back the land because I rejected his proposal. He instructed that the headman should give three acres to the girlfriend. So the main reason for all this trouble that I am facing is because I rejected the Village headman’s love proposal,” she said.

Speaking in an interview with this reporter Headman Mupasiwa refuted the allegations leveled against him citing that he was cleared by the Chief in this issue and was advised to leave the two women to deal with the situation on their own.

“There was an issue over the place that she (Masvibiriri) is staying, the plot is hers and there is no problem with that. When her husband passed on I was in Chireya and there was an issue with the other woman (Dhlana) she stays at the same place. The person who is fighting her is another woman (Dhlana) who is staying there since Masvibiriri’s husband was sick back then. I understand they went with the issue at the Chief’s place which is where I last heard about it.

“…that is what I heard and when the matter went to the Chief’s kraal it was discovered that I was not the problem. The woman (Dhlana) that she is staying with is the one fighting her. That is when it was then decided that I should be left out on this issue and allow the two women to deal with the situation on their own. My issue, in this case, is that I pleaded for Masvibiriri to stay there asking the other women. Right now I understand the story is on standby because the Chief’s police could not find money to come and assess the place,” said Mupasiwa.

However, a source that cannot be reviewed said that the Headman is acting as if he is innocent in this whole issue but the truth of the matter is that all the struggles being faced by Masvibiriri are a result of him being rejected, and is now targeting her so that his girlfriend can settle well at the place that belongs to Masvibiriri.

“What l know about Village Head Mupasiwa is that he is adulterous, and also goes after widows in our societies. He gave Masvibiriri a stand and allowed her husband to be buried at that stand not because it was too far from the graveyard, but since it was theirs he just thought it would be proper that way. After the husband’s death, he approached Masvibiriri and proposed to her, but she rejected him. The woman who is fighting with Masvibiriri is his girlfriend (Dhlana) and that is known in the whole community, and he has a baby with the woman too. He wanted Dhlana to stay there at Masvibiriri’s place …so in a way, the Headman was trying to punish Masvibiriri because she rejected his love proposal. In order to settle this story, the Chief had said he should give three new acres to his girlfriend which he never did. All these other stories are just unnecessary malicious accusations, the actual story is that Masvibiriri rejected the headman’s proposal,” said the source.

Efforts to speak with Dhlana were fruitless as her mobile phone was unavailable for some days. However, a source who spoke on conditions of anonymity said that Dhlana and Mupasiwa have since taken Masvibiriri to court accusing her of removing Dhlana’s crops and planting hers, a matter which will go to court anytime soon. The source revealed that people from the AGRITEX office in Gokwe came to the stand to assess the situation and compiled a report on their findings which is yet to be revealed.

Masvibiriri, however, denied the allegations that she removed Dhlana’s crops, “…I never did such a thing. The AGRITEX officers even came to assess the situation and on this issue I am innocent. These two people are trying every way possible to remove me from my place after their attempts failed at the chief’s kraal. They want me to get arrested so that they can take control of the place.”

However, Headman Mupasiwa told this reporter that he excused himself from this issue because he did not want to be involved in it.

“I understand that this woman (Dhlana) had done some Pfumvudza holes and Masvibiriri came and plowed through them with her cows. This woman (Dhlana) is claiming that she had placed her maize seeds. So I just said I will not get involved because I was not there when it was done so I cannot conclude that this woman (Dhlana) did indeed plant something. I only know that this woman (Dhlana) had dug the Pfumvudza holes, even at the Chief’s kraal that is what I said.

“I am not sure if the matter will still go to the courts because this woman (Dhlana) could not get the money to process the papers. The reason why this matter is still to go to the courts is that the papers from this woman have to go through AGRITEX for stamping, so this woman does not have the money to process the papers,” said Mupasiwa.

Chief Nemangwe could not be located to comment on this issue as his mobile phone was unreachable several times before print. However, a close source to the chief stated that the chief instructed Masvibiriri to stay where she is and that no one should interfere with her life.

“From my understanding when she (Masvibiriri) came here the chief advised her to go and stay where she is because that is a place where she was granted legal and that no one is supposed to push her away,” said the source.

Masvibiriri is waiting for a day when all her challenges will pass away so that she can live freely at her plot.


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