Traditional leaders must be apolitical

A lot of capacity building and training is critical for traditional leaders so that they are aware of their constitutional roles, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has said.

Speaking on This Morning on Asakhe, a daily current affairs programme hosted by CITE on Twitter Space, Stanford Nyatsanza of ZDI said traditional leaders have been deployed into the electoral arena by Zanu PF to influence the electoral outcomes.

Section 281(2) of the Constitution states that 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.

“The traditional leadership which comprises chiefs, headmen and village heads has been used to campaign for the ruling party and facilitate the closure of their communities from opposition penetration,” said Nyatsanza.

Recently, Zanu PF second secretary Kembo Mohadi used the installation of Chief Maduna in Insiza to  ‘remind’ chiefs to persuade their subjects to vote for the ruling party in the upcoming elections.

“We ask you to advise your many followers to work with the government of the day. I usually abbreviate it to G.O.D -Government Of the Day. The government of the day is Zanu PF and will always remain Zanu PF. We ask that you support us,” said Mohadi.

Nyatsanza said more effort should be put in capacity building and training of traditional leaders, so that they really come to understand their constitutional roles as well as their duties in their jurisdictions.

“Civil society must continue to facilitate evidence-based litigation to push traditional leaders as well as the ruling party and the government to implement provisions of the constitution rather than repealing or abrogating,” he added.

Nyatsanza also said that citizens must be informed of their rights and the role of traditional leaders.

“It is important to strengthen citizen awareness of the provisions of the constitution on traditional leadership. There must be robust programming around making citizens aware of the role of traditional leaders, their political limitations as well as what to do in case of an infringement,” he said.

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