MDC Alliance Councillor Arrested For Snubbing Chief In Development Projects

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent  

POLICE have arrested and detained Nyaminyami Rural District Council Ward 3 MDC Alliance councillor, Taiti Busumani for deliberately sidelining traditional leaders in developmental projects in the wildlife-rich area.

The projects included the rehabilitation of dip tanks, construction of a school and road refurbishment using finances derived from conservation programmes in Mola’s ward 3, which is the only ward where there are trophy hunting operations.

Busumani (36), was arrested last week at Mola Business Centre and spent three days in custody without charge,  detained at Siakobvu Police Station.

He was later taken to Karoi for further interrogation.

Busumani was later released into the custody of his lawyer, Job Sikhala who objected saying the councillor was being illegally held by the state who had also failed to prefer specific charges against the opposition politician.

In an interview with Sunday, Sikhala took potshots at the police over their ‘unprofessional conduct.

“This game of rampant persecution to arrest an opposition councillor in the deep forests and outlays of the Zambezi Valley is purely stupid. It’s really embarrassing, to say the least,” said Sikhala who is also the MDC Alliance vice-chairperson.

He added: “There were no complainants in the matter or any statements from the people who purport to be the complainants in the case. So I asked them (police), how they would compile a docket without complainants, what exactly where they trying to do They wanted to press charges without complainants. It has never been witnessed even in the most autocratic outpost of North Korea.”

Busumani is accused of implementing developmental projects in his ward without consulting the local chief, the headman and kraal heads.

“They want to charge him for violating the Traditional Leaders Act. They are accusing him of having excluded traditional leaders in his development plans. They are also accusing him of having constituted his ward development committee without calling for a ward development assembly to chose the committee,” said the hard-talking lawyer.

“He was not brought to court but was rather released into my custody as his lawyer, while police said they wanted to conduct further investigations after l raised several issues with them.

“My client was detained for three days of which it was another ground I raised against his continued detention. I warned them that they were now trading on an illegality and should either take him before a judicial officer for his further detention or else release him. They could not take him to court with no docket at all.”

Sikhala said he will present Busumani at the police Central Investigations Department (CID) in Karoi Tuesday when the police are expected to compile a docket before he appears in court.

“The charge they are preferring is a criminal offence to which the traditional leaders do not have jurisdiction. Therefore, he will definitely appear before the magistrates’ court,” said Sikhala.