ZANU PF wants the new constitution to offer traditional leaders the freedom to participate in politics, arguing denying them would be infringing their fundamental freedom of association as outlined in the Bill of Rights.
Report By Everson Mushava, Chief Reporter
According to a report compiled by Copac on the submission made by delegates in a thematic committee set to review Copac draft Chapter 15 on “Traditional Leadership” at the just-ended Second All-Stakeholders Conference, Zanu PF delegates were pushing for the removal of clause 15,2,2 in the Copac draft which prohibits traditional chiefs from participating in politics.
Zanu PF, accused by the two MDCs of manipulating traditional chiefs and headmen to arm-twist their subjects into supporting the party, argued that it was only logical for traditional chiefs to participate in politics.
According to the report, Zanu PF delegates advocating for participation of chiefs in partisan politics argued: “They (traditional leaders) should belong to a political party and be involved in politics – citing traditional practices from long ago where they led their people in wars and protection of their people.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party has often complained that chiefs were used by Zanu PF to persecute its members. Last week, Tsvangirai called chiefs to desist from party politics, but protect all their subjects.
In previous elections, chiefs and headmen — most of whom got vehicles and pieces of land from Zanu PF’s patronage system –
allegedly force-marched villagers to rallies and forced them to vote for Zanu PF.