Well-wishers have raised the required $1000 towards revisiting the case of 76-year-old convicted of raping fife children
HARARE – The #Free Sekuru Freddie Chawatama initiative, launched a few weeks ago to fundraise towards legal representation for rape-convicted Zimbabwean septuagenarian, Freddie Chawatama, has managed to raise the $1,000 required to appeal his conviction.
Chawatama, born in Wedza district, Mashonaland East, was arrested in his native village in January 2018 and was the following month convicted of raping five children he lived with, after his case was tried at the Marondera Magistrates’ Court, where he was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.
The septuagenarian was featured on the now famous “Behind Bars With Tilda Live” – a Facebook show being run on the social media platform by veteran Zimbabwean broadcaster Tilda Moyo. Several people who followed the interview sympathized with the 76-year-old, with many expressing belief that the ailing old man was unfairly tried, as he did not have legal representation during his court appearance.
Some of the viewers were touched by Chawatama’s health condition, after it was revealed his private parts were connected to a catheter and, according to his confession, only medical personnel could remove the piece of equipment from his body.
There were others who thought the case should be revisited following interview revelations that the rape allegations could have arisen from a land dispute between Chawatama and some members of his family. The sympathizers thought the old man could be a victim of either family issues or a shoddy investigation process.
Proponents of the initiative opened a Go Fund account to raise money for the septuagenarian’s legal aid so that the case could be reopened and re-tried on a fairer platform. A group of well-wishers also opened a WhatsApp group named FREE UP SEKURU FREDDIE, where they made contributions from various parts of the world to afford the ailing old man legal counsel.
This week, AfricanVoice Global was told that the initiative had managed to raise the required money towards Chawatama’s legal representation, with the money having already been deposited with his legal counsel and proceedings were being made to revisit the case.
On May 7, a lawyer, Advocate Zvidzai Kajokoro and one of the organisers, visited Chikurubi Maximum prison, where they interviewed Chawatama.
“The Advocate was impressed that Sekuru (grandfather Chawatama) is still consistent with his side of the story from the first time he was interviewed by Tete Tilda Moyo and that motivated well-wishers to donate more money to finish the advocate’s balance,” said one of the informants.
“This left the lawyer with undying passion for the need of the matter to be reviewed. The Advocate, without wasting time, went to Marondera Magistrates’ Court on May 8, to collect Sekuru’s court case file.”
Chawatama is said to have been touched to learn of the widespread solidarity for his case to be reviewed, telling the group about his other needs, including the catheter that must always be connected to his organ, a urine tube, winter warm clothes and groceries.
“The needed medical appliances and other materials were purchased from the raised funds and delivered and handed over to Tete Tilda Moyo, who then handed them over to Chawatama on May 13,” said the organisers.
“Sekuru Chawatama broke into tears, being thankful from the well-wishers from across the globe. On the 14th of May 2019 Advocate informed the organisers that he had finished studying the case file and is now ready to choose amongst the two options available – either to apply for an appeal or for the case to be reviewed. The case will be applied to be heard again soon in few days to come. The #FreeSekuruFreddie Group is still active and contributing the defense counsel needed funds. The case will be appealed at the High Court on Tuesday next week and we still need more money for the lawyers and bail for Sekuru Chawatama.”
Well-wishers were requested to send their contributions through Ecocash, Western Union, WorldRemit, Mukuru.com
Below is the Facebook link for the go fund Free sekuru Freddie Chawatama Facebook Page already created.
ORGANISERS OF THE FREE SEKURU FREDDIE CHAWATAMA:
Those in South Africa
Mr. Moreboys Munetsi on +27 62 052 5889
Mr. Sam Gumbojena +27 73 847 0380
Mr. Tineyi Deya +27 78 656 6095
Those in Zimbabwe
Dr. Tafadzwa Tazvivinga +263 77 192 1282
Eco cash number +263 787211019 Tafadzwa Tazvivinga or
Mmunetsi Nedbank Savings Account 1188104470
Ewallet 0620525889 .