On the 28th of October 2017, during the official opening of the 2017 edition of the National Annual Conference of Chiefs held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the President of the Chiefs Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira, announced his endorsement and support for President Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s candidature in the 2018 polls. That was not his first time to act irresponsibly and in violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, but he has been consistently politicizing traditional leaders in previous elections. Zimbabwean traditional leaders were recruited into politics and furthering the interests of certain political parties such as ZANU PF. More to the point, traditional leaders have largely been perceived as being part and parcel of ZANU PF political campaigns, and in many cases they have acted in a partisan manner, to appease their newfound political bosses.
Mr. Alouis Chaumba, of the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa pointed out that the conduct of Chief Fortune Charumbira is illegal and unconstitutional.
“It is now appearing as if Chief Charumbira is above the law. He must be dragged to the Constitutional Court for violating the supreme law of the country. Section 281 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear. It says that traditional leaders must not be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics; act in a partisan manner; further interests of any political party or cause; and violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person. In this case, Charumbira is abusing his power, office and authority by inciting all traditional leaders to support ZANU PF. I don’t think that people like him deserve to hold any public office. We now understand, why even his chieftaincy is being challenged,” He says.
In a new report released on 1 November2017, by the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa, Chief Charumbira and other traditional leaders were urged to immediately refrain from being members political parties or in any way participate in partisan politics. Further, they must not act in a partisan manner and further interests of any political party or cause. If this continues the matter will be taken to the Constitutional Court.
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Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa