MEMBERS of the Chief’s Council hold crucial elections today to choose their Senate representatives amid reports of massive vote-buying by aspiring candidates.
BY SILAS NKALA
In Matabeleland North, the elections will be held at Ntabazinduna Training Centre, while in Matabeleland South the polls will be held at the provincial administrator’s office in Gwanda. Midlands elections will be held at Senga Chiefs’ hall.
“Some chiefs intending to land the Senate positions are giving other traditional leaders about $100 each to be voted into the Senate,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sources claimed that bribery reports were rampant in the three provinces, but Mberengwa’s Chief Ngungumbane yesterday dismissed the claims as lies.
“Yes the elections are there tomorrow (today) and these elections are just the same as the one that is ongoing. When the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) proclaimed the harmonised elections, the chief’s Senate elections were proclaimed and they will be conducted like the harmonised elections,” he said.
“It is not true that there might be some chiefs buying votes. As chiefs we do not even campaign and we do not even seek nomination. If one pays people, what if they do not nominate and vote for him, he would have lost more. If a chief allows to be bought or you start buying others, you lose dignity and as chiefs we must be an example so if we do such things, we are not fit to be in such positions.”
Traditional leaders have been openly campaigning for Zanu PF in national elections and stand accused of intimidating and frog-marching villagers to Zany PF rallies and politicising food aid.
Ngungumbane said each province will have two representatives in the Senate.
“We already have Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira and (his deputy) Chief Mtshane Khumalo in the Senate,” he said.
Recently, Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Nhlanhlayemangwe Ndiweni sued the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission seeking nullification of Charumbira and Khumalo’s election, claiming the two were elected unprocedurally with participants voting through show of hand instead of the secret ballot system.