Traditional Leaders In Masvingo "Milking" ZANU PF Candidates | Report
Traditional leaders in Masvingo Province mainly in Zaka District were reportedly defrauding ZANU PF candidates who were campaigning ahead of party primary elections set for 25 and 26 March 2023.
TellZim News heard that some Chiefs were demanding up to US$500 to allow candidates to gather people in their areas of jurisdiction.
Headmen were reportedly demanding US$20, with village heads asking for at least US$10. Said a source:
When I went to Chief Nhema’s area mainly wards 1, 2, 5 and 10, I talked to the party chairpersons in that area and they told me that they have no power to gather people without Chief Nhema’s approval.
The Chief then demanded US$500 for him to allow me to gather people in his area and I am having challenges campaigning in his area.
Another source claimed that the practice was rampant in all three Chiefdoms in the district. Said the source:
If you want to campaign in Zaka, you have to pay a fee which they call ‘mari yefodya yamambo’ (The Chief’s snuff).
All village heads demand a flat fee of US$ 10 while headmen demand a flat fee of US$ 20.
The amount varies with Chiefs, others charge you while others will accept anything like US$50.
Chief Nhema born Rangarirai Bwawanda, however, dismissed the allegations as fake. He said:
Who lied to you like that? There is nothing like that and please tell me who told you so that we ask him where and when I demanded that money.
One aspirant, Davies Marapira, who was with Chief Nhema said the snuff fee was the custom everywhere in Zimbabwe adding people ought to respect traditional leaders. Marapira said:
Chief Nhema doesn’t charge people. However, one has to give the Chief a token called ‘fodya yaMambo’ and it’s a tradition even if you go to your home area and ask the Chief, he will tell you the same.
You cannot just gather people in an area without paying that token to the traditional leaders.
I have been addressing people today and have since given the token to headman Gonese whose area I was in. I am yet to give the Chief his, but he never demands.
Section 281 (2) of the Constitution forbids traditional leaders from being members of any political party or in any way participating in partisan politics, acting in a partisan manner, furthering the interests of any political party or cause or violating the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person.
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