VP defends partisan chiefs

via VP defends partisan chiefs – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 6, 2016

VICE-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday defended traditional chiefs in the Senate who always vote on the side of Zanu PF whenever a contentious issue comes up for discussion in the upper house.


Manicaland Senator David Antony Chimhini (MDC-T) highlighted to Mnangagwa that Section 281 (2a-c) of the Constitution stipulated that traditional leaders must not act in any partisan manner.

“It is to be noted that when chiefs in Parliament are carrying out their duties as Senator chiefs, they are not acting to further their own interests, but they would be acting as representatives of the communities that they belong to,” Mnangagwa said.

“In like manner, when there is a division in the House of Senate, Senator chiefs vote in relation to the interests of the communities that they represent, which is not in violation of the Constitution.

“However, if a Senator chief verbally and openly expresses themselves to be acting in violation of Section of 281 (2a-c), that would now be considered a violation of the Constitution and is not recommended.”

According to Parliamentary proceedings, various issues that are discussed may sometimes require the approval or disapproval of the House.

Standing rules and orders (SROs) of Parliament provide that if in any House (National Assembly or Senate), the presiding officer fails to determine if there is a majority for a decision or against it, then a division of the House is called for and MPs then vote for or against the decision in accordance with Section 138 of the Constitution. The majority vote is the one that prevails.

However, Senator chiefs have at all times voted in support of Zanu PF views, a practice which main opposition MDC-T legislators deem unfair.