BY BLESSED MHLANGA
THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has asked Local Government minister July Moyo to censure Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira for allegedly violating the country’s Constitution while addressing a Zanu PF national conference in Bindura last month.
At the conference, Charumbira declared that chiefs and all traditional leaders owned Zanu PF and, therefore, could not be separated from the ruling party by the Constitution.
The ERC filed a complaint with Moyo on November 3 saying Charumbira’s utterances were out of order.
“The Election Resource Centre (ERC) on November 3, 2021 filed a complaint with the Minister of Local Government, Honourable July Moyo against Chief Fortune Charumbira for contravening section 281 of the Constitution by participating in partisan politics for comments made on October 29, 2021 at the Zanu PF annual conference in Bindura,” ERC said in a statement.
Section 281(2) of the Constitution states that: “Traditional leaders must not (a) be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics, and (b) or act in a partisan manner”.
ERC said the comments made by Charumbira were a gross violation of the Constitution.
It said his conduct was unacceptable and could not go unchallenged.
“If left to fester, this has the potential to destroy the rule of law and constitutional supremacy in Zimbabwe. The Minister of Local Government and all electoral stakeholders must resist the temptation to exempt the conduct of Chief Charumbira from necessary scrutiny on his conduct,” the ERC statement read.
The election watchdog called on Moyo, who is a top Zanu PF official, to investigate Charumbira’s conduct in terms of section 7 of the Traditional Leaders Act and institute disciplinary proceedings against him to ensure that the supremacy of the Constitution prevails.
In 2018, Charumbira was dragged before the High Court by the ERC, where an order, HC1718/18, was issued compelling him to withdraw the partisan comments he had made.
Charumbira had called on traditional leaders to support Zanu PF ahead of the 2018 elections.