Chiefs play role of disbanded DCCs: villagers

Villagers from some rural parts of the country have accused the traditional leadership of assuming the roles of disbanded Zanu (PF) District Coordinating Committees.

Traditional leaders are, by law, not allowed to show open support of a political party.
Traditional leaders are, by law, not allowed to show open support of a political party.

The accusations come amid reports that traditional headmen and chiefs were turning developmental gatherings into Zanu (PF) rallies.

Last month, Chief Lazarus Zenda Svosve, attended a Zanu (PF) campaign rally held at Nhove Business Centre, in Marondera East. He urged villagers to vote for Police Chief Superintendent, Jeremiah Chiwetu, as Member of Parliament.

Early this month, Chief Otillia Chimukoko of Mudzi, was accused by villagers of being the special guest at a Zanu (PF) meeting, held at Chimukoko Business Centre. The chief called on churches to pray for party members released on bail.

In Mudzi West, villagers accused headman Witness Choto, of openly furthering Zanu (PF) interests. “Headman Choto preaches the Zanu (PF) gospel at developmental meetings, which are supposed to be non partisan. He denies suspected MDC supporters access to donor goodies and denounces other political parties at the slightest opportunity,” said a Choto villager.

Traditional leaders such as Chief Fortune Charumbira have reportedly made no secret of their allegiance to Zanu (PF). Charumbira is President of The Zimbabwe Chiefs Council.

Spokesperson for MDC-T, Douglas Mwonzora, said traditional leaders were threatened into partisan practices by Zanu (PF).

“They are actually preaching the Zanu (PF) gospel around villages, albeit sometimes reluctantly,” he said. “We are informed that chiefs and headmen were threatened with removal from their traditional positions, if they did not further Zanu (PF) interests.”

Spokesperson for the MDC led by Professor Welshmen Ncube, Nhlanhla Dube, said his party had not witnessed any partisan practice by traditional leadership.

“As a party, we have not come across partisan traditional leadership. In areas such as Masvingo and Mberengwa where we are mobilising support, the traditional leadership is cooperative,” said Dube in a telephone interview.

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