THREE Matabeleland North chiefs have approached the courts seeking a peace order against Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu, whom they accuse of being abusive, issuing ominous threats and occasionally hurling insults.
The court affidavit was signed by Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni and supported by chiefs Neville Ndondo and Deli Asher Mabhena.
The traditional leaders filed their application at the Tredgold Magistrates’ Court in Bulawayo yesterday through their lawyer Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers.
The three traditional leaders are from the Bubi-Umguza constituency, where Mpofu is seeking a senatorial seat.
Last week, Mpofu was dragged to court by the Umguza Community Share Ownership Trust for allegedly grabbing borehole drilling equipment and accessories valued at US$600 000 from the trust.
The trust said it was carrying out a borehole drilling programme in the constituency, which had resulted in the sinking of 95 boreholes, which benefitted clinics, an army base and schools.
In their affidavit, the traditional leaders said they were living in fear of Mpofu and his Zanu PF accomplices.
Mpofu is cited alongside Matabeleland North Zanu PF chairman Richard Moyo and eight party supporters, Jonathan Sibanda-Nkanyezi, Remigious Kombani, Beverly Sibanda-Mthombeni, Sharon Ncube, David Moyo, Paul Masina and Kholwani Mbambo.
Richard Moyo won the Zanu PF primary elections in Umguza.
In their founding affidavit the chiefs said Mpofu had made life unbearable for them.
They also accused him of making it impossible for them to smoothly carry out their duties.
“The first respondent who is also a Member of Parliament and Home Affairs minister has abused his office and authority by constantly throwing spanners into the chiefs’ work using his agents and thugs,” the chiefs said.
“He has verbally attacked the applicants in various political and social foras at York House in Bulawayo and in Umguza District.
Sometime back, he sent thugs and hoodlums to harass and torment the applicants and villagers who refuse to dabble in his succession issues.”
The chiefs also stated that Mpofu had threatened them with death.
“Further, through his direct control of 17 out of 18 wards, he further intimidated and harassed the applicants through derogatory insults, threats of violence, abduction, and extermination as he is a feared and very powerful politician,” they said.
“Attempts to report him to the police have yielded nothing as the police officers are afraid of politics.”
The chiefs said they feared for their safety and security in light of the threats from Mpofu and his associates.
In their court application, the chiefs sought an order compelling Mpofu to stop the harassment and also to allow the borehole sinking project to proceed well in the area.
Meanwhile, in a related matter, the three chiefs are seeking a High Court interdict to bar Minister Mpofu from interfering in the running of the Umguza Community Share Ownership Scheme.
The chiefs alleged Mpofu had pillaged money from the scheme which was given a lifeline courtesy of a US$1,5 million injection by giant cement manufacturer, PPC Cement.
“Moreover, the first applicant (Umguza Community Share Ownership Scheme) which was founded by a donation of US$1,5 million from PPC Cement, has also been caught up in this incestuous web of corruption, maladministration, and financial pillage before the appointment of the three chiefs, that is myself and other respondents,” Chief Ndiweni said.
“…The development to professionally administer the Trust was met with massive resistance by the first and second respondents (Mpofu and Moyo).
This meant that they can no longer illegally obtain trucks and vehicles belonging to the applicants for political events without paying for them and abuse of funds for the first applicant (the scheme) through unscrupulous means for political expediency,” reads the affidavit that was filed by the chiefs at the Bulawayo High Court.
On Monday, the High Court postponed the hearing into an urgent chamber application that had been filed by Chief Ndiweni seeking to bar Mpofu from abusing borehole drilling equipment he had allegedly grabbed from the scheme.
The application sought to push the court into ordering Mpofu to return the US$600 000 property he had allegedly grabbed.
Justice Martin Makonese postponed the matter to July 31 to enable Mpofu’s lawyers to prepare a defence after being properly served with the court papers.