ZANU PF national secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana recently directed village heads in Chingwizi, Masvingo province, to order their subjects to vote for the ruling party in the March 26 by-elections.
Addressing a rally at Chingwizi last week Mangwana said village heads and cell chairpersons should “publicly” pledge the number of votes each will produce for the ruling party in the polls.
“I want all the cell chairpersons here and all village heads to come here. We are in a war and these are our field commanders, so you have to listen to them.
So I want them to pledge to us how many votes each is going to produce for Zanu PF on March 26,” he said.
“After this meeting, I want you to sit down with these people and each one should tell us the votes he or she will give to Zanu PF from his area in the upcoming election.
After the election, we will have another rally here, where we would want to see how each one of you has performed.”
However, The Traditional Leaders Act and the Constitution make it unlawful for traditional chiefs to be partisan or even to pursue the interest of any political party.
Chapter 15:2 of the Constitution adds: “Traditional leaders must not be 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.”
Some traditional leaders have often attracted criticism for allegedly dabbling in partisan Zanu PF politics.
Zanu PF has long been accused by civil society organisations and opposition leaders of using State resources and traditional chiefs to perpetuate the ruling party’s interests and influence election results, particularly in rural areas.
Traditional leaders have also been accused of politicising food aid on behalf of Zanu PF. –TellZim