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Death Threats Over Headmanship

10 September 2021

A headmanship dispute in Zimunya recently took an ugly turn after a traditional leader was confronted and threatened with death by unknown people.

Headman Gombakomba (Mathias Gombakomba) said he was visited by six men last week on Saturday masquerading as law enforcement agents and threatened him with death if he fails to step down from his position.

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He said the men later confessed that they were not law enforcement agents, but had been sent by unnamed close relatives eyeing his throne.

In an interview with The Manica Post on Tuesday, Headman Gombakomba said he was now living in fear following last weekend’s visit. He said:

They visited my homestead last week on Saturday night. We had already retired to bed when they knocked at the door and demanded to see me.

I asked for their identification, but they refused. They initially told me that they were businessmen who wanted to buy cattle from me.

Sensing danger, I called my nearby relatives. They quickly responded and I came out of the house and confronted them. They changed their statement and claimed to be law enforcement agents.

Among the group, there was a local businessman’s 15-year-old son (name withheld). I managed to positively identify him. They said my appointment as the headman was illegitimate.

We argued for some time and they later confessed that they were sent by some relatives, but refused to disclose their names.

Headman Gombakomba who superintends over seven villages, Gombakomba, Nhereunze, Museta, Marware, Chandinofira, Mukwecheni and Chidziya villages has since filed a police report at Zimunya Police Base.

When contacted for a comment by The Manica Post, Acting Chief Zimunya, said:

I have nothing much to say about this issue. Mathias (Headman Gombakomba) should resolve his issues without grandstanding.

I have gathered that he has a dispute with some villagers over the sale of a beast.

I don’t think he is being honest by saying that there are people who want to dethrone him.

He called and briefed me about the incident, but there is more to this issue.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Luxson Chananda, said:

I have not received such a report. I will check with my colleagues in Zimunya.

However, sending death threats to someone, either through text messages is a crime under the Post and Telecommunications Act.

More: Manica Post