By Staff Reporter
THE MDC-T has Chief Fortune Charumbira should both retract and apologise to Zimbabweans for controversial claims local traditional chiefs were firmly behind President Robert Mugabe’s candidature in the 2018 presidential elections.
Charumbira torched a storm during an annual chiefs conference in Bulawayo last Saturday when he said local chiefs were endorsing the Zimbabwean leader’s bid for yet another term as both Zanu PF and State president.
His utterances invited strong rebuke from Zanu PF opponents and civic groups that felt he was encouraging fellow traditional leaders to violate the country’s constitution which places the respected traditional leaders as apolitical.
In a statement, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Charumbira should apologise for his controversial statement.
“In all fairness, therefore, Chief Charumbira should publicly apologise to the people of Zimbabwe for violating the Constitution by openly and publicly calling for chiefs to campaign for Zanu PF.
“In addition, Chief Charumbira should proceed to immediately retract the offending and grossly unconstitutional remarks that he recently uttered at the chiefs’ conference in Bulawayo a few days ago,” Gutu said.
Gutu also slammed Zanu PF for allegedly reducing traditional chiefs into “objects of pity”.
This is when Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere had announced government was buying 226 Isuzu twin cab vehicles for chiefs he said were sometimes seen traveling on the backs of cars belonging to their subjects.
“Our traditional leaders should not be viewed as objects of pity and ridicule who can easily be manipulated for narrow and selfish political purposes,” Gutu said.
Equally, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Righst also railed against Charumbira for reckless” statements it said were “dangerous” and had “far reaching implications”.
“ZLHR strongly condemns affiliation and active participation of traditional leaders (chiefs, headmen) in party politics as this compromises the impartial discharge of their traditional duties and is a violation of the Constitution,” said the group in a statement.