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'Chiefs will never leave Zanu-PF'

by Staff reporter
30 Oct 2021 at 14:01hrs | Views
Fortune Charumbira, the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs on Friday vowed that traditional leaders "will never leave Zanu-PF" – his latest act of defiance against a constitutional requirement that traditional leaders should be impartial.

Charumbira, who has a court ruling against him over his partisan outbursts, was speaking at the Zanu-PF annual conference in Bindura.

"On behalf of all chiefs in this country, I want to tell you that we are together. It's true we are together. We are behind you. I want to repeat this because there are people who ask us why we come here," Charumbira, leader of Zimbabwe's 272 chiefs, told the party faithful.

"Firstly, and in short, if you know where Zanu-PF came from, then the game is over, and you will not ask Chief Charumbira why he is here. But if you don't know Zanu-PF's origins and how it started, you will continue asking why we come here.

"The country was taken from the chiefs by the imperialists and we were slaves in our country and people said we should go to war. Chiefs rule everywhere and that's what defines our relationship with Zanu-PF. We are one people. Zanu-PF was formed on our behalf to reclaim land.

"We're the owners of Zanu-PF. The reason why Zanu-PF exists is all about traditional leadership. So you cannot separate the struggles about land on this continent from the traditional leadership. We will never leave Zanu-PF."

Section 281 (2) of Zimbabwe's constitution says traditional leaders "must not be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics", must not "act in a partisan manner" and must not "further the interests of any political party or cause."

In 2018, Justice Clement Phiri of the Harare High Court ordered Charumbira to publicly retract comments he made months earlier, but he has refused to comply with the ruling.

Justice Phiri ruled: "The remarks made by Chief Charumbira on October 28, 2017, on the occasion of the annual conference of the Council of Chiefs and on January 13, 2018, to the effect that traditional leaders have been supporting and must continue to support Zanu-PF and its presidential candidate at the forthcoming 2018 elections be and is hereby declared to be in contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

"Chief Charumbira be and is, hereby, ordered to retract in writing the statements that he made to the effect that traditional leaders should support and vote for Zanu-PF by issuing a countermanding statement and shall publish the countermanding statement in a newspaper with a national circulation and endeavour to make a statement available to private and public media houses and the national broadcaster within seven days of being served with this order."

Opposition parties and rights groups accuse Zanu-PF of employing a patronage system in which chiefs are regularly given gifts and vehicles to act as political commissars for the party, giving it an edge in rural outposts during election time.

Source - ZimLive
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