Former MDC legislator Eddie Cross criticised the main opposition for allegedly disrespecting traditional leaders and treating them as people with no role to play in a modern Zimbabwean society.
He was speaking at the inaugural Zimbabwe Devolution Conference held recently in Harare. He said the MDC sought to push chiefs to the periphery in terms of governance. Said Cross:
They are not elected but they are part of our history, they restore dignity. In our local government structures and in devolving power, we have to give our chiefs a central role. And I did not like what happened in COPAC because in COPAC, MDC treated the chiefs as old fashioned, out of date and I don’t think Zanu PF did a good job protecting the rights of the chiefs. I think they did a lousy job and I think Chief Charumbira (Chiefs Council president) will agree with me. But we as a nation, if we are to be true to what we are, we have to make a place for the chiefs in the way in which we run our country. They are not elected but they are part of our history. The traditional leaders, the mambos are the traditional leaders of our people and we need to give them a place in our society which reflects their role in our culture.