Traditional leaders forcibly mobilizing villagers to support Zanu PF

Youth in Chivi have expressed concern over the partisan involvement of Chiefs and Headmen in ZANU-PF mobilization process. Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) peace club members stated that, the traditional leaders in Chivi have become more of an extension of the ruling party, Zanu (PF) and are abusing their authority to fan violence and hatred against perceived and know opponents of the opposition parties.

The youth accused Chief Chivi, Chief Shindi amongst other traditional leaders for coercively mobilizing local villagers to attend Zanu PF meeting addressed by Minister of state for Masvingo province Shuvai B Mahofa at Chivi Rural District Council last week. The youth who attend the coercive mobilized Zanu PF meeting also criticized headmen Madyangove for leading Zanu PF choir singing party songs and slogans during the meeting. “The headmen declared that there will be no peace if the people betray ZANU-PF by voting for opposition parties, he also promised to unleash violence to all suspected opposition members ahead of 2018 election” said one youth.

The youth also blamed Headmen Mr June Penemene who publicly declared during the meeting that, Zanu PF is the only political party people must support in Chivi as opposition parties have no war credentials to rule Zimbabwe. COTRAD peace club’s social assessment in Chivi reveals that, the role of the traditional leaders is worrying especially in the electoral process and in the distribution of food aid, agriculture inputs, land, and welfare funds, has been highly partisan in support of the ruling Zanu PF party faithful. The ward peace club members condemned the partisan and victimization of opposition party members, urging traditional leaders not to abuse their authority to fan violence against fellow citizens. COTRAD peace clubs encouraged traditional leaders to uphold peace and rally community members to participate in initiatives that help peace building and community tolerance.

COTRAD is deeply concerned about the political victimisation and high levels of intolerance in Chivi District as the country prepares for next year’s elections. In section 281, the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly states that traditional leaders should be objective in the execution of their duties, Section 281 (2) that traditional leaders must not participate in partisan politics. Yet Section 67 of the country’s constitution is clear that every citizen has the right join and participates in the activities of a political party of their choice and campaign freely for a political party or cause.

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