Discipline ‘Errant’ Chief Charumbira: ERC To Local Govt Minister

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By Anna Chibamu

THE election watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has called on Local Government Minister July Moyo to investigate the conduct of Chief Fortune Charumbira after commenting traditional leaders would remain staunch supporters of Zanu PF.

According to the ERC, the statements by Charumbira, the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs, were in breach of the country’s Constitution.

The chief made the remarks at the end of last month while addressing Zanu PF delegates at the party’s annual people’s conference in Bindura.

Addressing the ruling party delegates, Chief Charumbira said:  “Traditional leaders were owners of Zanu PF and rule everywhere and that is what defines their relationship with Zanu PF, we are one people. We will never leave Zanu PF.”

However, the ERC wants Moyo, who was also at the Zanu PF conference, to take action against Charumbira.

“The ERC calls on the Minister of Local Government in terms of section 7 of the Traditional Leaders Act to investigate the conduct of Chief Charumbira and institute disciplinary proceedings against the Chief and ensure that the supremacy of the Constitution prevails,” it said.

The ERC said Section 281 of the Constitution dictated traditional leaders cannot be members of any political party, act in a partisan manner.”

The ERC said the chief’s president comments had the potential to destroy the rule of law and constitutional supremacy in Zimbabwe and there was a need to carry out disciplinary proceedings against Charumbira.

“The latest comments come at a time the chief blatantly ignores a 2018 High Court order (Election Resource Centre v Chief Fortune Charumbira & Ors HC 1718/18) compelling him to withdraw partisan comments made, calling on traditional leaders to support Zanu PF ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.

“The conduct of the chief, if left to fester, 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.”