Traditional Leadership

Gutu Village Head Mahove demands US$100 for burial of heroine


GUTU- In bizarre move that has left a Gutu family shocked, a village head allegedly on the instructions of the Chief demanded US$100 for the burial of a liberation heroine.

The Midweek Watch has gathered that a war of words has erupted in Chief Nerupiri area in Gutu with the late Brigadier General Gumbo’s family claiming that a village head has developed a tendency of reaping them off each time there is a funeral in the family.

The family is claiming that during the burial of the late decorated soldier’s wife, Grace Gumbo Ruocha on 20 March this year, the Village Head David Mahove allegedly demanded US$100 and a hindquarter of beef meat from a beast they had slaughtered to feed the mourners, despite the fact that she was laid to rest with full military honours.

The family is alleging that the headman wanted a share of the carcass as per tradition that stipulates that a Chief and entire traditional leaders must be gifted for gracing functions in their area including funerals.

One of the family members Opas Ruocha (81) told The Midweek Watch that the family is baffled by the headman’s actions and claim the traditional leader is now abusing his authority to target his family.

“I am surprised as to why the headman is always demanding things from my family, each time that we have a funeral he comes up with all sorts of demands claiming that he has been tasked by Chief Nerupiri.

“We are always concerned and end up succumbing to his pressure,” he told The Midweek Watch in a recent interview.

The octogenarian said it was not the first time the headman had made ridiculous demands as in 2021, the family was asked to pay US$1000 before the burial of their niece Jerina Masango who had died in Chivi.

“Our niece died in Chivi and the family decided that she must be buried at our homestead, but we were shocked when the headman sent his emissaries demanding that we pay a whopping US$1000 for us to carry out the burial.

“He claimed that our niece was not part of his community and tradition stipulates that we pay a fine to the traditional leader for her to be buried in his area, we haven’t paid the money up to now but he is still demanding it,” he said.

However, when contacted for comment Headman David Mahove vehemently denied the allegations and urged the Ruocha family to provide proof that he was demanding money from them or he has ever fined them for allegedly breaching customary laws.

He confirmed receiving a hindquarter during the burial of heroine Grace Gumbo in March but claimed it was the Ruocha family who insisted that the traditional leaders take home the meat since nothing had been prepared specifically for them as per custom.

“That family is made up of liars, we did not in any way force them to pay us anything during the funeral of Grace, what happened is that the family wanted the traditional leaders including the chief’s meal to be prepared separately from the rest of the villagers.

“However, due to time, the meat could not be prepared and the family insisted on us taking the meat to the chief’s residence,” he said.

Headman Mahove added that the family has a tendency of gossiping in the area on a number of issues and he is left with no option but to report the family to Paramount Chief Gutu for a hearing over their conduct.

“They have a lot of issues, some which they fabricate to other villagers I’m not sure why they hate me with a passion,” he said         

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