Notorious FAZ gang abducts village head for receiving donated cement
Three men from Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) on Wednesday allegedly abducted and threatened to kill Munamati Village head in Ward 8 Gutu Central, Wilfred Munamati, for receiving ten bags of cement donated by a local CCC candidate for use in the construction of a flat bridge across a stream in the area.
Munamati, who did not realise he was talking to The Mirror, confirmed the abduction.
He pleaded with The Mirror not to publish the story for fear of being killed. He said he was taken to CIO offices at Mpandawana Growth Point, where FAZ members threatened to beat him up before they ordered him to take back the donation to the CCC candidate.
According to his recorded statement to The Mirror, he was warned that he would disappear.
Munamati was instructed to receive donations from the Zanu PF candidate for the constituency and Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando and ordered to wait for that cement only.
He was released two hours later after pleading that he would surrender back the cement. He was forced to go back home on foot.
“Handichatoibati cement yacho, aaa unofira mahara, unonyura. Ndaitotaurirwa zvekuti unonyangarika. Pakatoipa hapana kumira zvakanaka. Tava kutongoita madollar dollar totsvaga cement.
“(I am not touching that cement any more. I don’t want to risk my life because I was told that I would disappear. We will go back to our original plan to get a dollar each from volunteers in the village,” said Munamati.
Leonard Machinya, an unemployed youth from Machinya Village in the same ward, is said to have led the FAZ group.
However, Machinya confirmed that Munati was in Gutu, but denied ever taking Munamati and said he came alone.
“We never took him. He came alone. I don’t know what he wanted. I never saw him,” said Machinya.
CCC candidate for Gutu Central, Matthew Takaona, confirmed that he pledged to donate cement when he attended a funeral of a fellow Catholic near Maregedze Primary School on Sunday. He then bought the cement, and it was delivered the next day.
“I attended a funeral of a fellow Catholic who died in the area. It was announced at the funeral that President Mnangagwa donated 20kg of meal-mealie to the bereaved family through FAZ, which was a very good gesture.
“The village head, however, then pleaded with villagers to pay USD1 each to buy three bags of cement for the construction of a flat bridge across a stream that made it almost impossible for vehicles to reach the homestead of the funeral.
“I realised that the three bags were too few and I pledged and delivered 10 bags of cement the next day and am surprised that villagers are being ordered not to use it,” said Takaona.
Takaona said the FAZ gang committed a crime by forcing Munamati to go with them.
“This gang is guilty of a crime. This is abduction and a serious crime. FAZ has no right to force people into their cars. Police must arrest these youths before this behaviour escalates into worse political violence. The village head must report the matter to Police’’, said Takaona.
Munamati said he was picked up by FAZ at his home and bundled into a vehicle. He was taken to the CIO office at Gutu Police Station at Mpandawana. He was interrogated there by three men.
However, villagers who talked to The Mirror vowed not to return the cement. They said that they were going to start work on the bridge this week.
“We have been asking the council to build this flat bridge since independence and has done nothing. We cannot miss this opportunity. We will not return the cement. We will start building the bridge this week.
“We don’t need politicians who only think about themselves and are anti-development,” said a villager who declined to be named for fear of reprisals.
Sources said a group of villagers held a meeting over the matter yesterday and resolved to go and see Machinya.
Leonard is the son of Machinya, a late prominent businessman with retail shops dotting the district, including at Mpandawana Growth Point. Masvingo Mirror