Leader of Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) Noah Manyika has challenged chiefs to refuse to be co-opted by the ruling ZANU PF party for use as instruments to oppress the rural masses.
Manyika urged the new generation of chiefs to take back their freedom and refuse to be used by the ruling party for cars and meagre allowances. Manyika said:
The colonial enterprise worked assiduously to make Chiefs complicit in our repression. They ashamedly co-opted them, in much the same way Zanu(PF) has done.
It is our duty to challenge the new generation of Chiefs to take back their dignity and become the champions of freedom.
Why is this critical? They hold the key to the liberation of the 150 rural constituencies Zanu(PF) controls through its patronage and Command Agriculture bribery and pacification scheme.
It makes a complete mockery of the entire system of Chiefdoms for them to be simply Commissars of any political party, let alone Zanu(PF), and to sell their souls for cars and a pittance of a government allowance.
It is neanderthal thinking for any Chief to claim to be a guardian of culture while allowing their subjects to be abused, starved, manipulated etc.
The first responsibility of any Chief or community leader must be to, first of all, protect and advance the interests of the people.
Chiefs have often been accused of acting as political commissars of the ruling party, forcing their subjects to support the establishment by using food aid as a political weapon.
Last year, the High Court ordered Chiefs Council president, Chief Fortune Charumbira to retract his statement where he instructed traditional leaders to support ZANU PF.