CHIEFS’ Council president Fortune Charumbira yesterday openly defied the national Constitution which forbids traditional leaders from dabbling in partisan party politics after he publicly declared that chiefs were the owners of the ruling Zanu PF party.
Addressing delegates at the party’s annual conference in Bindura, Charumbira, who was once taken to court for urging chiefs to support Zanu PF, said “we come as owners of the party”.
“On behalf of all chiefs and headmen, I want to say, we are together with Zanu PF,” Charmubira said.
“We got invited through a letter and that letter showed who we are. We were invited as delegates, but if you go to the start, we are the owners of Zanu PF.”
Chapter 15.2 of the Constitution forbids traditional leaders from being 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.
“We come as owners of the party, the reason for the existence of Zanu PF is all about traditional leadership, and it is about injustice,” Charumbira said.
“This party is ours, which is the truth. War veterans, you fought the war, you are shareholders, but we are the owners, and others are members, which is the truth.”
Traditional leaders have often been accused of forcing their subjects to support Zanu PF during elections to the extent of threatening to take away their land for supporting the opposition, or denying them government-sourced food aid.
A fortnight ago, Zanu PF supporters in Charumbira’s village in Masvingo attacked MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s convoy during the opposition leader’s tour of the province.
Charumbira yesterday pleaded with delegates at the Zanu PF conference to uphold peace, saying the ongoing internecine fights in the ruling party were a sad reminder of the late former President Robert Mugabe’s era of violence and intolerance.
He played down the alleged power struggle between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, saying the alleged fallout was a creation of ambitious party members angling to land key positions leveraging on their proximity to the two leaders. – NewsDay