PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday gagged traditional leaders from criticising him in public, a development seen as part of the Zanu PF regime’s strategy to further shrink the country’s democratic space.
Mnangagwa held an emergency meeting with traditional leaders from across the country in the capital yesterday, three days after Chief Murinye of Masvingo publicly castigated him for failing to rein in “rogue” associates “surrounding him”
Murinye warned that Mnangagwa risked losing the 2023 presidential elections, or being toppled via a coup. He was speaking at the burial of top civil servant Elson Gonye, the head of Pay and Benefits Development and Management Agency in Masvingo province
The burial was attended by senior government officials.
Mnangagwa’s deputy Constantino Chiwenga and Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira said Murinye’s comments were unacceptable, would not be tolerated and would be investigated.
“Chiefs have been guided accordingly,” a visibly angry Chiwenga said.
“Chiefs should know channels to raise issues. Chief Murinye’s conduct is not tolerated and thus will be investigated. The President should be respected by all and sundry. The President has my total support.
Charumbira chipped in: “My great Monomotapa (in reference to Mnangagwa) cannot be touched as long as I am alive. What we have seen recently should never be repeated. Zvinoitwa nevakanwa mutoriro zviya (Murinye’s conduct is only attributable to those who abuse crystal meth),” he said.
“Chieftainship is given by the paramount chief and if you are stubborn, the paramount chief has the powers to withdraw you from the chiefdom.”
Charumbira added: “We are with you as the National Council of Chiefs. Chief Murinye’s utterances should be regarded as his individual view and not that of the national council of chiefs.”- NewsDay