The murky operations of Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ) are landing some Zimbabweans in trouble after they allegedly queried the legality of the shadowy organisation’s activities.
In Masvingo province, two people were recently arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers in Gutu after they allegedly engaged in a verbal altercation with FAZ members, who were stationed at some Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) polling stations, which had been designated by the elections management body as inspection centres for purposes of the voters’ roll inspection exercise.
51 year-old Goodson Matanda, who resides in Gutu, was arrested on 1 June 2023 by ZRP officers, who charged him with assault as defined in section 89(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutors alleged that on 1 June 2023 and at Rafamoyo Primary School in Gutu, Matanda assaulted Shamiso Madondo, a resident of Gutu, who is employed as a FAZ member and who had been deployed at the school, writing down some details of people engaged in the inspection of the voters’ roll.
The prosecutors alleged that Matanda arrived and started taking pictures of Madondo and other ZANU PF political party members, who were at the school using his mobile phone handset.
A misunderstanding reportedly arose after the ZANU PF political party supporters questioned why he was taking pictures of them.
Matanda, prosecutors alleged, then assaulted Madondo during the altercation and accused her of being used by the ruling ZANU PF political party.
Matanda, who was represented by Dereck Charamba of Ndlovu and Hwacha Legal Practitioners, spent four days in police and prison custody before he was granted bail on Tuesday 6 June 2023 by Gutu Magistrate Mitchell Panavanhu.
In setting free Matanda, Magistrate Panavanhu ordered him to pay US$250 or its equivalent in ZWL currency and also ordered him to report once every week on Friday at a ZRP station.
He returns to court on Thursday 8 June 2023, where his trial is scheduled to commence.
Earlier on, another Gutu resident, Ephraem Murudu, who is reportedly interested in contesting as a legislator for Gutu West constituency in parliamentary elections scheduled for 23 August 2023, was arrested by ZRP officers on 30 May 2023 at his business premises on a litany of charges including criminal insult as defined in section 95(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, threat of future violence as defined in section 129(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and indecent assault as defined in section 67(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Murudu, a 63 year-old liberation war veteran, who is also a retired teacher, had on 29 May 2023 gone to inspect his name in the voters’ roll at Mbirikira Primary School in Gutu, where he allegedly met Yvonne Funda, a FAZ member, and tried to grab an exercise book which she was holding and accused Funda of being dull and uneducated. He reportedly missed grabbing the exercise book and in the melee allegedly fondled Funda’s breasts.
Murudu was represented by Omen Mafa of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners.