Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira Friday publicly declared that chiefs were the owners of the ruling Zanu PF party in open defiance of the national Constitution which forbids traditional leaders from being partisan.
Chief Charumbira made the remarks while addressing delegates at the party’s annual conference in Bindura. He said:
On behalf of all chiefs and headmen, I want to say, we are together with Zanu PF.
We got invited through a letter and that letter showed who we are. We were invited as delegates, but if you go to the start, we are the owners of Zanu PF.
We come as owners of the party, the reason for the existence of Zanu PF is all about traditional leadership, and it is about injustice.
This party is ours, which is the truth. War veterans, you fought the war, you are shareholders, but we are the owners, and others are members, which is the truth.
Chapter 15.2 of the Constitution forbids traditional leaders from being members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics, act in a partisan manner, further the interests of any political party or cause or violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person.
Traditional leaders have often been accused of forcing their subjects to support Zanu PF during elections to the extent of threatening to banish them or deny them handouts for supporting the opposition.
Charumbira also claimed that the alleged rift between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga was a lie meant to divide the party. Chiwenga is reportedly leading a faction that is seeking to dislodge Mnangagwa from power.
He warned Zanu PF delegates to stop the divisive power fights which threaten to raze the ruling party following recent violent internal elections. He added:
This party is ours, we will correct it when it is going astray. You are now having a lot of noise in the party. It hurts us when you fight. This is our party…
This comes weeks after Mnangagwa admitted to the chaos in the ruling party while addressing a politburo meeting.