ERC maintains siege on partisan Charumbira

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has maintained pressure on partisan Chiefs Council President, Fortune Charumbira with threats to file criminal charges against the under-fire legislator for violating the national constitution through open support for a political party.

ERC is also up in arms with the traditional leaders’ head over his continued failure to retract statements he made in December 2017 declaring open support for Zanu PF ahead of general elections July last year.

This is despite a later High Court ruling ordering the controversial legislator to publicly withdraw the utterances.

The elections group accused Charumbira of violating the national constitution through open support for a political party.

In May last year, the High Court gave an order against Charumbira instructing him to retract statements he made on October 28 and December 20, 2017.

Charumbira is accused of saying traditional leaders were going to rally support behind President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his party during elections. Under Zimbabwean laws, traditional leaders should be non-partisan.

The subsequent order by the High Court was secured after a successful application by ERC.

In its application, ERC also cited as respondent, the local government minister.

At a press briefing in Harare Thursday, ERC director Tawanda Chimhini said Charumbira has remained defiant in open contempt of the High Court ruling.

“Given the clear disregard for the court order by the respondents, ERC has been left with no other choice, but to file a criminal case with the ZRP against the President of the Chiefs’ Council for purposes of upholding the integrity of the court and that of electoral democracy in Zimbabwe,” Chimhini said.

“To date, the court order stands ignored despite spirited efforts by the ERC to engage all parties involved to act in compliance with it.”

Chimhini added, “The High Court order reinforces constitutional provisions whose enforcement would contribute towards positively responding to calls for electoral reforms following questions raised about the 2018 harmonised elections.

“The ERC affirms its commitment to exhausting all remedies available in Zimbabwe to improve the quality of future elections.”

ERC, a think tank and advocacy institution on elections and democracy in the country, vowed to leave no stone unturned, in its quest to improve the quality of future elections in the troubled southern African country.