Villagers in Zaka District have expressed concern over the partisan involvement of Chiefs and Headmen in biometric voter registration process. Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) peace club members stated that, the traditional leaders in Zaka have become more of an extension of the ruling party, Zanu (PF) and are abusing their authority to mobilize potential registrants to register and vote for ZANU PF in 2018 elections. The villagers accused village headmen Mr Mataruse Madziviro of Madziviro Village and Mr Onias Mazhetese of Madzivanyika Village under Chief Ndanga in Zaka for coercively mobilizing people to go to register to vote, instructing them to vote for Zanu PF in the 2018 election.
The social audit Conducted by COTRAD Peace Committee members in Zaka revealed that last week Monday 25 September 2017 Mr Mataruse Madziviro and Zanu PF Officials for Zaka Central ward 8 Violet Tarusenga and Viola Makuya launched a door to door campaign in Madziviro village urging eligible voters to register to vote with the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) for the next year elections, telling people that Zanu PF is the only party to vote for in all elections.
The disgruntled villagers also blamed Mr Mataruse and his team for threatening villagers with violence reminiscent of the 2008 terror campaign. It was also revealed that village headmen Mr Onias Mazhetese of Madzivanyika village accompanied by Mac Mazhetese Zanu PF ward 8 Youth Chairperson and Aleta Unganai were moving the entire village instructing people to be registered and to vote for ZANU PF in the upcoming elections to avoid being beaten up. Mazhetese declared that he don’t want opposition members in his village. He also ordered people to acquire Zanu PF membership cards and to attend all party meetings.
COTRAD calls traditional leaders to be objective in the execution of their duties. COTRAD peace clubs encouraged traditional leaders to uphold peace and rally community members to participate in initiatives that help peace building and community tolerance. COTRAD will continue to engage and report all forms of electoral irregularities to (ZEC). COTRAD will set up more Peace Committees to mitigate potential political violence ahead of 2018 election. It is enshrined in section 281 (2) that traditional leaders must not participate in partisan politics. Section 67 of the country’s constitution is clear that every citizen has the right join and participates in the activities of a political party of their choice and campaign freely for a political party or cause.
Source: Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD)