Stock theft: Chief Hobodo summons, reprimands villagers

Chief Hobodo in Mangwe, Matabeleland South, on Friday summoned villagers from Lumawe to his traditional court to reprimand them following an increase in stock theft cases in that area.

Some of the cattle recently stolen from Mzola in the neighbouring district of Matobo and other areas have been traced back to Lumawe with suspects having since been arrested while some are out on bail.

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Following the discovery of those cattle near Ramokgwebana River, which borders Zimbabwe and Botswana some villagers in Lumawe and other villages falling under Hobodo were being threatened with death and abductions by people working with thieves.

Some of the villagers who attended the meeting

That, however, did not go down well with the traditional leaders in the area prompting Chief Hobodo to summon his subjects from the problematic village of Lumawe to his traditional court.

“If you read the constitution there is nowhere, where it says there are rights for thieves, rapists, those who axe people to death, those who kill and bury children in shallow graves,” said Chief Hobodo while addressing the villagers and their village head during the meeting.

“All these things I have said are happening in Lumawe. Lumawe is a very good village that was loved by my father, the late chief. Whenever my father was invited to Lumawe there would be a party of some sort which was a cover-up of all bad things happening there.”

The chief however acknowledged that not all the people from Lumawe are thieves.

“It is not all of you who are doing all those things, thanks to the wise words: Zonelwa mvunye,” said the chief.

“When one of my children, Mqondisi has misbehaved, it will be said: Bana baVelenjani banotjinya.”

The traditional leader said he was also not moved by threats coming from Lumawe saying he would not hesitate to evict rotten apples from his area of jurisdiction.

“I am not afraid of anything, I can even show the room where I sleep,” he said.

“I am not threatening you. I am a child of God, I am a child of Hobodo working for you so that you do not get into trouble so that you eat well and sleep well. I however do not sleep well because of knobkerries that I duck, some of them coming from witches and wizards. Some of these knobkerries are from some leaders in Lumawe.

Out of bitterness he further said: “If you want to do your own will in Hobodo get out of Hobodo to go and do your will outside. If you want to be a child of Hobodo just follow laws of the government and Hobodo by-laws. Very soon we will give each and every household a copy of the by-laws so that people will read them for themselves. If you are not able to abide by those by-laws, just get out of Hobodo and return to where you came from. What you are doing is bad, you have therefore been reprimanded. Can you change it? Change please!”

The chief also took a swipe at the police at Mayobodo Police Station in Khalanyoni accusing them of not properly handling stock theft cases.

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“Our police in Khalanyoni are very bad,” decried the chief.

“We report stock theft cases to the police, giving them all the evidence of the number of cattle stolen but to our surprise they just write one cow. Our police officers eat together with thieves.”

He said villagers whose livestock have been stolen were very angry and would want the law to take its course on those suspects.

“People are angry, should those people be set free, they risk being stoned to death.”

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