Chiefs should execute their duties for the good of the people and desist from treating their subjects in a partisan manner, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has said.
The DPM said the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulated that the institution of chiefs was above party politics.
Mutambara was addressing parliamentarians during a question-and-answer session on Wednesday in response to Gokwe-Sengwa MP Shaddy Sai, who wanted to know if it was government policy that chiefs and headmen should force people to have their names and details, including the political parties they supported, written down and taken to the leaders of Zanu PF.
“According to our Constitution as Zimbabweans, the institution of chiefs is supposed to be above party politics,” said Mutambara. “A chief is a chief for all the people in that community irrespective of political affiliation.”
“Chiefs must not be used by political parties to further political ambitions, but rather, the chiefs must be above party politics and further the aspirations of their people irrespective of their political aspirations,” he said.
The DPM said whenever MPs had evidence of chiefs being used by political parties, they should report to the Minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, who would be expected to deal with the issues.
“We do not support or defend a situation where chiefs are used by any political party at all. In fact, in the GPA we are very clear that the institution of chieftainship must be outside the political differences we have in this country,” Mutambara said.
MDC MPs have many times charged that chiefs in Zimbabwe operated in a partisan manner and were being used to further Zanu PF agendas.