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ERC sue Chief Charumbira for campaigning for Zanu-PF - sue the puppeteer and not the puppet!

17 Jun 2018 at 16:49hrs | Views
"President of the National Council of Chiefs (NCC) Fortune Charumbira is facing jail after failing to comply with a court order that directed him to issue an apology for rallying other chiefs to support the ruling Zanu-PF in this year's elections," reported Daily News.

"Charumbira was given seven days within which to issue the apology, which expired on Thursday. This followed an application lodged by the Election Resource Centre (ERC).

"In terms of the country's laws, chiefs are not allowed to participate in political activities or to be seen to be pushing the interests of a particular party."

This is all academic, at the very best; in real terms this is just a classic case of closing the door when the horse has bolted.

We all know that the Chiefs and all the other traditional leaders are a politically compromised lot with no real power except what Zanu-PF gives them; puppets in the puppeteer's hands. The Chiefs and village heads are the government's representative and land-barons to the communal owned-land, hence the reason rural areas are called communal areas.

These traditional leaders have always used their autocratic powers to kick povo off the land as the ultimate weapon to force povo into a straitjacket. It was the white colonialists did not want the blacks to own any land, this made it easier for the white government to remove blacks from any piece of land without even the "By your leave!"

The Chiefs did not mind being removed from their ancestral land, rich soil with good rainfall, to be resettled in the dry and arid area, as long as their retained their autocratic powers. Only one or two Chiefs objected, notably the late Chief Rekayi Tangwena. The present cosy arrangement in which the traditional leaders are used to impose the dictatorial wishes of national government is a carryover from the colonial days.

President Mnangagwa has distributed brand new twin cab Isuzu trucks to all the country's 282 Chiefs, down payment for the Chiefs to make sure the rural electorate are kept in their straitjackets, frog marched to attend Zanu-PF rallies and then vote for the party. President Mnangagwa was only fulfilling the pledge Robert Mugabe had made to the Chiefs before he was booted out in the November 2017 coup.

Chief Charumbira had assured President Mugabe, when the tyrant promised the trucks, all the Chiefs will campaign for Zanu-PF. Why did ERC not charge Mugabe for the blatant vote buying?

Chief Charumbira repeated his promise that the Chiefs will campaign for Zanu-PF to President Mnangagwa when the Chiefs received their down payment bribes. Why did ERC not sue President Mnangagwa for bribing the Chiefs to break the constitution stipulating that Chiefs must stay out of party politics?

Even if Chief Charumbira had publicly apologized "for rallying other chiefs to support the ruling Zanu-PF in this year's elections," ordered by the court. Will was not going to stop the Chiefs campaigning for Zanu-PF, given they are all driving around in the new twin cab Isuzu trucks and therefore constantly being reminded why they got the trucks?

The Chiefs are out there campaigning for Zanu-PF; they are telling the rural voters that if Zanu-PF does not win all those suspected of voting for the opposition will be punished. The rural voters know this is not an empty threat as many rural voters had their home burnt, have been beaten, raped and even murdered in cold blood.

The only rational reason why ERC have pursued this case demanding a public apology from Chief Charumbira is justify the civic group's own existence. This is just a political gimmick. The problems of ensuring these elections are free, fair and credible is a serious matter demanding serious solutions and not these political gimmicks!

The raft of democratic reforms agreed at the onset of the 2008 GNU were designed to severe the undemocratic control Zanu-PF has over ZEC, the Police, the Army and all the other state institutions including the traditional Chiefs and village heads.

The single most important democratic reform in our rural areas must give everyone title deeds to the land and end this communal ownership nonsense!

Why do we need traditional leaders when we have local council too? At least the people have, in theory at least, a say in the later institution and none in the former. People like Chief Charumbira have shown just how corrupt and utterly irrelevant traditional leaders have become. We should completely abolish the chieftainship; all those holding public office must be democratically accountable to the people and elected in free, fair and credible elections.

It is inconceivable that these elections can ever be free and fair without first implementing the reforms. For the umpteenth time; these elections should not be taking place without first implementing the raft of democratic reforms!

"The ERC will be proceeding using all available remedies to ensure that consequences follow the disregard shown by chief Charumbira. With all due respect to the chief, our chief, my chief, it is unfortunate that he has decided to go down this road," said ERC director Tawanda Chimhini.

Zimbabwe is in this economic and political hell-hole because we have been stuck for 38 years with a corrupt, incompetent and tyrannical regime that rigged elections to stay in power. If Zanu-PF rigs these elections, signs are that is exactly what the party is doing; then, there is no hope of the nation ever getting out of the hole for another five to ten years. The long-suffering people of Zimbabwe will derive no solace from the courts slapping Chief Charumbira's wrist for failing to perform the empty gesture of closing the stable door after those pulling the Chiefs, ZEC, Police, etc. puppet strings had deliberately letting the horse out!

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