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Chiefs’ dabbling in partisan politics raises a stink


IN the lead-up to 2023 elections, alarming reports have emerged from a leaked internal memorandum sent by Chitepo School of Ideology principal Munyaradzi Machacha to Zanu PF’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu indicating that traditional leaders will be roped in for training as ruling party campaign managers alongside district co-ordinating committee (DCC) members, Rural District Council (RDC) chairpersons and chief executive officers.

The details in the memorandum directly fly in the face of constitutionally established principles and tenets that apply to provincial and local government personnel, and traditional leaders.

This shows that this rogue regime will not relent given that there is a pending case at the courts raised by a civic society group over the involvement of chiefs in partisan party politics.

Section 266(2) of the Constitution states that no employee of a provincial or metropolitan council or a local authority may, in the exercise of their functions, act in a partisan manner; further the interests of any political party or cause; prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause or violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.

Additionally, section 281(2) of the Constitution provides 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 the interests of any political party or cause; or violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person.

In view of the foregoing, the indications of intent, or the subsequent execution of such a strategy would directly undermine the Constitution and the rule of law established to govern what ought to be a democratic society.

The machinations of politics explicitly fall outside the purview of provincial and local government personnel, and traditional leaders. To misuse or to manipulate the standing that is inherent to the indicated public personnel to garner political traction on the road to elections is condemnable and unlawful.

It not only amounts to abuse of office, but it effectively decapitates the tenets upon which Zimbabwe, as a democratic society, stands. Citizens, in particular, have a right to be aware of nefarious practices that contravene the Constitution by which all Zimbabweans are bound. There is an immediate need for redress, especially in view of the unyielding requirement that elections be conducted freely and fairly.

It’s high time President Emmerson Mnangagwa stopped conflating the State and his party and respect the Constitution.