Constitution-making outreach meetings were held in Harare Sunday with Zanu PF supporters advocating for the inclusion of a clause that makes President Robert Mugabe “Life President” in the new supreme law of the land.
The outreach meetings were characterised by tension over the weekend.
At Mai Musodzi Hall, Mbare, where violence broke out last month, Zanu PF supporters said there should be a clause that makes the 86-year-old leader for president for life.
The calls were received with wild cheers by the crowd most of them Zanu PF activists.
A known female Zanu PF activist in the area, who last month reportedly spearheaded violence that claimed the life of one person and left many injured, stood up and prayed that the constitution should allow President Mugabe to rule for life.
The Zanu PF activist called for the death penalty on those who call for sanctions against President Mugabe and his inner cabal to remain intact.
Capital punishment should also be meted out on individuals friendly to the West, she said.
“We pray that our President Robert Mugabe be made life president in the constitution and all those who call for sanctions be sentenced to death,” she said.
Last month, the Zanu PF women’s league said they want President Mugabe to continue ruling despite his age.
In Budiriro, where there were skirmishes during the last outreach meeting, people made their contribution amid heavy police presence.
Again calls to have President Mugabe rule for life were made.
The MDC-T boycotted the meetings.
“The Preamble of the new constitution must include that (Mugabe as life president),” said one contributor. Traditional leaders at the weekend resolved to support President Mugabe in future elections saying they want him to be the country’s life president.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T says the dabbling in partisan politics by chiefs is a wanton abuse of taxpayer’s money and a violation of the country’s Constitution.
The MDC-T said it noted the disturbing development in the country where chiefs and kraal heads were being coerced to impose Zanu PF wishes on the people especially in rural areas.
“Statements by the President of the Council of Chiefs, Fortune Charumbira, at a chief’s conference in Kariba yesterday (Saturday), indicating that chiefs should be political commissars and organisers for Zanu PF in the villages and communal areas should be dismissed with the contempt they deserves,” the MDC-T said in a statement.
“The statements and conduct of some chiefs are not only a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which prohibits the involvement of traditional institutions in partisan politics but also wanton abuse of taxpayers’ money since all chiefs are being paid from state coffers”.
“In an effort to cleanse themselves, they (politicians) have now seen it fit to point their poisoned arrows at innocent chiefs in an effort to demobilise the people.
“Our advice to the chiefs is that they should resist being dragged to the side of losers and risk the embarrassment of rejection by the people.”
The party said it would appreciate the existence of chiefs “as custodians and sacred calabashes of our tradition and culture” as opposed to treating them as political opponents. The MDC-T said should the chiefs and traditional leaders choose the path of politics, “we shall happily treat them as political competitors with all the impending consequences”.
The traditional leaders at the weekend made pronouncements that they were ready for elections, saying the inclusive government creates conflicting sources of power.