ZBC News reported that traditional chiefs have endorsed President Robert Mugabe as the Zanu PF presidential candidate for the 2018 harmonised elections. This is illegal and a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The announcement of the endorsement was made by Chiefs Council President, Chief Fortune Charumbira during the official opening of the 2017 edition of the National Annual Conference of chiefs held in Bulawayo on Saturday. Said Charumbira:
As chiefs, we agreed during the 2014 congress that Cde Mugabe is our candidate for the 2018 elections. We are all united and he is still our candidate. We have been supporting him and we can confirm that winning is guaranteed.
Chapter 15 Section 281(2) of the Constitution stipulates the code of conduct for chiefs. Section 281(2) states that:
2. Traditional leaders must not–
a. be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan
b. act in a partisan manner;
c. further the interests of any political party or cause; or
d. violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person.
By endorsing Mugabe’s Zanu-PF candidature, Chiefs have participated in partisan politics. This raises questions on the issue of a level playing field in next year’s elections considering that they have openly supported Mugabe as a candidate and assured him that winning is guaranteed.