By Watmore Makokoba
Mutasa Central legislator Trevor Saruwaka has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and human rights organisation to investigate and cause the arrest of chiefs who are violating electoral laws.
Traditional leaders under Chief Mukahanana in Mutasa Central are reportedly forcing people to submit voter registration slips after registering and Honourable Saruwaka said this development is unacceptable as it violates the country’s electoral laws and constitution.
“This behaviour by traditional leaders is both unacceptable and illegal, for starters, the constitution in section 281 clearly spells out that traditional leaders are not allowed to be partisan or further the interests of any political party whether ruling or in opposition.
“This behaviour is a direct attack and breach of the constitution. It clearly compromises the fairness and credibility of elections. I call upon ZEC to cause the arrest of such individuals because it puts the whole election exercise into disrepute.
“The turnaround of this country’s economy hinges on the legitimacy of government and credibility of elections. We cannot allow misguided traditional leaders to throw our country backwards; the police and the Human Rights Commission must take decisive action to stop this madness,” he said.
According to Saruwaka the decision to collect registration slips is indicative of Zanu PF’s fear of getting out of power after the impending election.
“It is obvious Zanu PF has read the mood of Zimbabweans well and knows pretty much that any free election means the end of their rule hence they are now resorting on employing traditional leaders to intimidate Zimbabweans,” said Honourable Saruwaka.
It is alleged that Obvious Ndota who is said to be an aid to the Chief is that one who brought word to the local headman Manyasha to order people to bring their slips for recording.
Headman Manyasha is said to have admitted to the allegations and revealed that that the instruction came from the Chief and was not aware why it was being done.
After confirming with the traditional leader, Saruwaka lodged a complaint to the area District Administration Officer Tendai Kapenzi so that an investigation into the matter can be carried out.
Kapenzi acknowledged receiving the complaint adding that he was in the process of investigating to get to the bottom of the matter.
Such incidences have also been reported in some wards and other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Peace Project expressed dismay at the continued reports of registration slips submission to Zanu PF leadership saying the quietness of ZEC on these allegations compromised people’s constitutional rights and election legitimacy.