The Local Government minister July Moyo has been forced to reinstate six traditional leaders after they challenged their unceremonious dismissal at the High Court.
Member Mutinha, Patrick Manjonjo, Aleck Munava, Morgan Gora, Nobo Mahobho and Taurai Machipisa of Ward 17 in Hurungwe District in Mashonaland West province were ‘unfairly’ dismissed by Chief Nyamhunga born Boniface Chinehasha between April and May 2015.
They were also stripped of their entitlements and replaced by Emmanuel Mutinha, Clever Hwenda, Insuarance Kapamara, Simbarashe Kaponda, Dzumbunu Paratema and Pasipanodya Manjonjo.
Attempts by the village heads to have their dismissal reversed hit a brick wall after the Local Government ministry through the Hurungwe West district Administrator’s office, now district development co-ordinator (DDC), said their positions had been filled and benefits were withdrawn.
They approached the High Court and were represented by Webster Jiti of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) as they challenged their dismissal without any charges or disciplinary hearing.
In the application, the village heads argued that they had complied with the provisions of Section 281 of the constitution, which provides that traditional leaders should not “act in a partisan manner or further the interest of a political party or cause.”
The matter has not been heard at the High Court.
But the Local Government ministry through permanent secretary Zvinechimwe Churu has reinstated the traditional leaders after he acknowledged that they had been unfairly dismissed in terms of the provisions of the Traditional Leadership Act.
In his letter, Churu through a ministry official one E. Chitombo ordered the district development coordinator to process payment of the village heads’ monthly allowances.
The ruling Zanu PF is accused of abusing its power to manipulate traditional leaders to help it during election campaigns.
Traditional leaders such as chiefs and headmen are forced to tow the party line and those that resist are dethroned like what happened to Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna. —Standard