Independent election observer, Zimbabwe Election Support Network has expressed great concern over the decision by ruling ZANU PF to use a well known traditional leader as their election agent in the recently held ZAKA East by-election.
ZESN also reports that at another polling station, another village head came putting on ZANU PF regalia.
The election observer says that the two incidents could have intimidated voters. Part of ZESN’s report reads:
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Zesn is, therefore, concerned that at Vhurumuku Primary Scchool, in ward 25 of Zaka East, a well-known headman was serving as a Zanu PF party election agent.
In ward 32, a village head turned up to vote at Machiva polling station wearing Zanu PF regalia. Though he removed the cap and put on a jacket to conceal the Zanu PF T-shirt upon Zec’s instruction, the village head went out and sat at the gate of the school, where the polling station was located, within the vicinity of the polling station, in Zanu PF party regalia.
The report is consistent with remarks which the opposition MDC has been making not so long ago.
Traditional leaders are prohibited by Section 281 of the Constitution to actively participate in politics given their status as natural leaders in society.
The traditional leaders in ZESN report are however not the first after Chief Nhlanhla Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna and Chief Fortune Charumbira, in that order, publicly supported the opposition MDC and ruling ZANU PF.
More: News Day