Zanu PF officials sued for food aid politicisation

The MDC members are demanding $20 000 in damages from the three.

According to the court summons, the applicants are Godfrey Zunza, Tsitsi Tunyowa, Norman Chinamhora and Simon Matenga, while the respondents are Idah Mhiriza, Hamilton Mutamba and Madhora Shanya.

“Defendants are all active members of the Zanu PF political party,” the court papers say.

Mhiriza, as the councillor for the area, was in charge of the food aid programme.

“First defendant (Mhiriza) oversees the distribution of food aid, including maize and rice to villagers in her ward,” the MDC members said.

They said they had been receiving maize and rice under the food aid programme, before Mhiriza issued a directive barring them from getting the hand-outs.

“On February 26 2017, plaintiffs (MDC members) held a private political meeting at the homestead of the fourth plaintiff (Matenga) in view of the impending national elections in 2018.

“First defendant became aware of the plaintiffs’ political activities and thereafter instructed second and third respondents (Mutamba and Shanya) to remove plaintiffs from the ‘food for work’ programme on account of their political affiliation,” the court papers say.

The MDC officials — represented by lawyers from Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners — claim they were removed from the food aid programme without just cause, and were being discriminated because of their political affiliations.

“Defendants have no right to discriminate plaintiffs on account of their political affiliation. Plaintiffs have accordingly suffered damages on account of discrimination they have suffered at the hands of the defendants,” the MDC members argued.

They are now seeking an order for Mhiriza’s conduct to be declared “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

“The MDC members further seeks an order, “compelling the defendants to allow plaintiffs to participate in the food aid programme (and) payment by defendants jointly and severally the one paying the other to be absolved of $20 000 being damages for the violation of plaintiffs’ constitutional right to freedom from the discrimination on account of political affiliation”.

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