By Watmore Makokoba
OUTSPOKEN Masvingo businessman and staunch Zanu PF stalwart Killer Zivhu has come under fire for violating the country’s constitution by using the Association for Rural District Council (ARDC) to mobilise voters for President Robert Mugabe.
Zivhu who is the ARDC chairman has been widely quoted in the state media (particularly The Herald of Wednesday the 7th of June 2017) stating his intentions to use the association to mobilise votes for the ruling party.
ARDC is prohibited from acting in partisan manner and furthering interests of any political party by Section 266 of the Zimbabwean Constitution.
In a statement, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) has condemned Zivhu’s intentions to unlawfully manipulate ARDC into mobilising the rural electorate to deliver about 2 million votes for the President in 2018.
“The ERC is deeply disturbed by recent utterances from ARDC indicating an intended program to mobilise people to register as voters and vote for a particular candidate (President Robert Mugabe).
“Using Rural District Councils as mobilisation vehicles to the advantage of one candidate is not only unconstitutional but a clearly laid intention to use state resources inappropriately. Such a program is patently unconstitutional and in direct violation of Section 266 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe” said the ERC statement.
Section 266 of the Constitution states that; “No employee of a provincial or metropolitan council or a local authority may, in the exercise of their functions—act in a partisan manner; further the interests of any political party or cause; prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause, or violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.”
Meanwhile, ERC has called on Zivhu desists from abusing public office to further partisan interests and that ARDC should immediately distance itself from the unlawful statements and the proposed strategy.
“The ARDC needs not be schooled that once one holds public office in a multi-partisan society, their behaviour and practice must be guided by principles of non-partisanship in execution of duties,
“The ERC maintains that the responsibility to mobilise Zanu PF supporters lies with the Zanu PF party not the ARDC. While Dr Zivhu has every right to mobilise his preferred party’s supporters, doing it under the auspices of ARDC remains improper and defeats the purpose of having an association for RDCs.
“Abuse of state resources and an institution for partisan pursuits is unconstitutional and unacceptable,” says ERC.