Source: Chamisa meets Seke traditional leaders – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 16, 2017
OPPOSITION MDC-T vice-president Nelson Chamisa yesterday held a meeting with traditional leaders from Seke communal lands as the party intensifies its campaign to win the hearts and minds of rural people ahead of next year’s general elections.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The emphasis on rural campaigning comes as the opposition is fighting the tag that it is an urban-based party, where 40% of the country’s population lives at the expense of increasing its rural vote which can give it access to power.
Chamisa said the party was working to re-establish its national brand and position itself as the government in waiting because Zanu PF had consistently failed to turn around the economy over the past decade.
“I had a successful meeting with the traditional leadership in Seke. The meeting was attended by village heads and other community leaders like pastors, where we explained the party’s role and mission as we approach the watershed 2018 elections,” Chamisa said.
Meetings with traditional leaders have been ongoing for the last three months starting with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai conducting nationwide consultations.
The opposition penetration of the rural areas has since 2000 been problematic as Zanu PF militias have over the years made the constituencies “no-go areas”.
Traditional leaders have also been accused of being an extension of Zanu PF commissariat department by participating in mobilising and coercing villagers to vote for the ruling party.
“We used the opportunity to discuss with the leaders that they have a duty to lead all people in their constituencies and they should not act on behalf of a party as the Constitution clearly says they should not perform their duties in a partisan manner,” Chamisa added.
The opposition is reportedly using these consultative meetings to gather views of the electorate and incorporate them into its policy document that is currently being developed.
MDC-T is creating a policy document called SMART that will be used to develop its 2018 manifesto.