Mangoma hauls Chief Charumbira to court

OPPOSITION political party leader Elton Mangoma has hauled Chief Fortune Charumbira to court seeking an order to declare his utterances pledging support to ZANU PF party as unconstitutional. Mangoma, the leader of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) party filed an application at the High Court in Masvingo on Wednesday 28 February 2018 seeking an order declaring some remarks and pronouncements uttered by Chief Charumbira pledging support to the ruling ZANU PF party as unconstitutional.

On 28 October 2017 in Bulawayo and on 12 January 2018 in Gweru, Chief Charumbira declared that
traditional leaders will back ZANU PF party and endorsed support to the ruling party’s presidential
candidate in the 2018 general elections.

But Mangoma, in his application filed by Tinomuda Shoko and Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, argued that Chief Charumbira’s pronouncements are a violation of constitutional
provisions that require traditional leaders to be independent and infringe upon his rights enshrined in
Section 56 and Section 67 of the Constitution.

The opposition party leader, who also cited the National Council of Chiefs and Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo as respondents to the application, argued that traditional leaders must not be members of any political party and neither be involved in partisan politics and should stop operating as an extension of the ruling party.

Mangoma submitted that Section 281 of the Constitution states that traditional leaders must not be
members of any political party, participate in politics, act in a partisan manner or further the interests of any political party or cause.

The RDZ leader argued that Chief Charumbira’s statement infringes on his rights as a political party
candidate and do not create a level ground for all political parties.

In addition, Mangoma said Chief Charumbira’s careless utterances also violate the rights of all people
living in Zimbabwe as they will be vulnerable to manipulation as they fear reprisals of not conforming to the President of the National Council of Chiefs’ position on supporting ZANU PF party.

Besides declaring Chief Charumbira’s statements as unconstitutional, Mangoma also wants the High
Court to grant an order compelling the National Council of Chiefs to initiate processes towards the
establishment of the Integrity and Ethics Committee of Chiefs envisioned in Section 287 of the
Constitution.

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