MASVINGO — Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa says traditional leaders are expected to be pro-Zanu PF and can never be apolitical.
By Tatenda Chitagu
His pronouncement runs contrary to provisions of the new constitution that stipulates that they should not dabble in politics.
Addressing a Ministry of Justice constitutional advocacy meeting in Masvingo on Friday, Mnangagwa said Zanu PF only agreed to allow clauses that prohibit traditional chiefs from being involved in politics in the new constitution due to pressure from MDCs during the power-sharing government.
“Traditional leaders cannot fail to know the right people [Zanu PF]. They know and pray that God must keep and protect President [Robert] Mugabe,” he said.
“You cannot know that while you are neutral.”
Mnangagwa said in the run up to recent by-election in Tsholotsho North, he wooed chiefs and other people to vote for Information minister Jonathan Moyo.
“In Tsholotsho I spoke in Ndebele with Vice-President Mphoko because we wanted their votes,” he said.
Mnangagwa’s revelations confirmed claims by opposition political parties that traditional leaders were instrumental in aiding Zanu PF victories by frog-marching their subjects to vote for Mugabe and other ruling party candidates. Often traditional leaders have been accused of threatening opposition supporters with ejection from their areas of jurisdiction during election time if they don’t vote for Zanu PF.