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Zanu PF dangles trinkets to chiefs – NewsDay

LOCAL Government deputy minister Mariam Chombo

BY PROBLEM MASAU/KENNETH NYANG
LOCAL Government deputy minister Mariam Chombo has disclosed that government is planning to splash on traditional leaders to cushion them against economic turbulences.

Chombo, who said she was not at liberty to disclose the figures, told NewsDay early this week that traditional leaders played a significant role and deserved a comfortable lifestyle.

She said government would review their allowances, put them on medical aid, service their vehicles and allocate them fuel.

The opposition Citizens Coalition Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday accused Zanu PF of trying to buy the loyalty of traditional leaders with trinkets ahead of the 2023 general elections.

CCC spokesperson accused the ruling party of trying to bribe chiefs ahead of the elections to ensure they force-march their subjects to vote against the opposition party.

“We condemn this brazen attempt to buy the loyalty of chiefs with trinkets. We respect the role and importance of traditional leaders but we are opposed to them being used to participate in partisan politics,” Mahere said.

“Traditional leaders must be non-partisan and put the interests of the citizens they lead ahead of any partisan agenda.”

Chapter 15.2 of the Constitution forbids traditional leaders from being members of any political party or in any way participating in partisan politics.

Traditional leaders have faced accusations of being Zanu PF appendages with Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira openly declaring his allegiance to the ruling party.

But Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said: “The ruling party does not believe in bribing people to vote for it. Our secret to victory is servant leadership and development.

“The chiefs are the custodians of our traditions and culture, besides their role in local governance and development. These values are embodied and well represented by the Zanu PF government. There is, therefore, no need to bribe chiefs to vote for what is theirs.”

Last year, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga warned chiefs that they risked being stripped of their positions for criticising the Zanu PF government.

Ideas Party for Democracy leader Herbert Chamuka said Zanu PF was returning to its default settings of using traditional leaders for political gain.

“It is high time traditional leaders realise that they are just pawns in the Zanu PF power matrix.  Zanu PF only wants to use them to regain power,” Chamuka said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said the government should also show the same zeal to improve the welfare of civil servants.

“Our traditional leaders deserve to live dignified lives and the same basic services accorded to these Chiefs should be extended to our hard working civil servants,” Masaraure said.

“It will be, however, unfortunate if the chiefs choose to sell their souls and go on to illegally campaign for the ruling party in the 2023 elections. The resources they are receiving are from State coffers not from the party and the constitution criminalises partisan activities on the part of traditional leaders.”

The late former President Robert Mugabe did not hesitate to pamper chiefs, and at one time said they could get any car they wanted and the government would bankroll the purchases.

In 2012, traditional leaders demanded that the government treat them the same way as judges and magistrates, arguing that they handled a lot of cases in rural areas.

Meanwhile, traditional leaders in Mutare South constituency in Manicaland province are reportedly backing central committee member Esau Mupfumi to wrest the seat from fellow party member Jefrey Ngome.

Mupfumi is reportedly eyeing a rural constituency after he lost to Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)’s Prosper Mutseyami in the March 26 by-election for the Dangamvura/Chikanga constituency.

The South African-based legislator Ngome who has businesses in the neighbouring country stands accused of neglecting his constituency.

NewsDay Weekender is reliably informed that there is an outcry in the constituency with villagers claiming that they are not being fully represented.

Mupfumi told NewsDay Weekender that: “It is true that I was approached by traditional leaders to represent them in Parliament for the Mutare South constituency, so who I am I to reject their offer.”

Ngome, however, dismissed allegations that he had deserted his constituency.

“I am on the ground and yesterday I was at funeral and I don’t know  what people are saying,” he said

Former Nyanga North MP Hubert Nyanhongo is eyeing Chido Sanyatwe’s seat.

In Mutare North, former MP Batsirai Pemhenayi (Zanu PF) has reportedly hit the ground running to wrestle the seat away from the incumbent Mike Madiro who is the Manicaland provincial chairperson.

In Buhera South constituency, Zanu PF MP Joseph Chinotimba is facing a challenge from Ngonidzashe Mudekunye.

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Politics

Zanu PF woos Mujuru back – The Zimbabwe Mail

Joice Mujuru


Zanu-PF Mahuwe district branch has recommended the readmission of former Mbire legislator David Butau into the party.

Butau was expelled from the ruling party in 2015 after he was linked to the sacked former Vice President Joyce Mujuru led faction accused of trying to topple then Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe.

In a letter dated 5 May 2022, addressed to the Mushumbi District Coordinating Committee chairperson, Mahuwe district vice chairperson, Daniel Mumbamuchena said they had agreed that Butau should be readmitted into the ruling party so he can mobilize voters for President Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of 2023 elections.

The letter reads: “We as the ward, Mahuwe political district agreed to the letter with the following conditions:


“Butau involved everyone to implement development in Mbire district, he offered personal projects to uplift the livelihoods of people in the entire district.

“He was involved in developing public places like schools, clinics and roads, he donated learning materials like books and computers in most of the schools in the district.

“He assisted orphans and the most vulnerable people in the entire district, he was strongly involved to resolve situation during disasters which affected people in Mbire district”.

Added the letter: “We therefore recommend David Butau to be admitted in Zanu-PF, to continue with his good works and also assist the President of Zimbabwe H.E Mnangagwa in mobilising the five million voters to rally behind Zanu-PF in the impending 2023 general elections.”

Source – NewZimbabwe


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Politics

Minister threatens the opposition – The Zimbabwe Mail

Davies Marapira


MASVINGO North Zanu-PF legislator Davies Marapira has declared that beneficiaries of the land reform programme should not support opposition parties and those supporting the opposition will be evicted from resettlement areas.

Addressing Zanu-PF youths during the launch of a US$5 000 football tournament for youths in his constituency at Wondedzo Primary School on Sunday, Marapira said supporting opposition politics in resettlement areas is a taboo punishable by eviction.

His sentiments came as the country draws closer to the 2023 general elections, with several analysts and leaders of opposition parties predicting a violent campaign as Zanu-PF hardliners indicating that they pull out all the stops to retain power.

Masvingo province witnessed terrible political violence during 2002 and 2008 elections which saw tens of people losing their lives and several others being permanently maimed.

Marapira, who is also the minister of State in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office, told the youths that land reform is the brain child of the ruling party and all the beneficiaries of the programme must support Zanu-PF so those found supporting opposition politics in resettlement areas will be sent back to their places of origin. He said opposition politics is for rural areas.

“This area is a resettlement area which was created through policies by the ruling party and everyone staying here should support the ruling party. On this issue we are serious so anyone found supporting the opposition in this area should know of his fate, which is eviction back to his or her rural home and if we do that nothing will happen to us because Zanu-PF is the owner of this land. I think l am clear on this issue and everyone heard what l said,” said Marapira.


Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) Masvingo provincial spokesperson Derick Charamba told The NewsHawks that his party is receiving numerous complaints that opposition members in rural and resettlement areas are being threatened by Zanu-PF officials for exercising their constitutional right to association. He said many of their supporters are being sidelined from government programmes like agricultural input and food aid schemes, which is a gross violation of human rights.

“We are receiving several cases of political threats on our members on daily basis as the country is moving closer to the 2023 general elections. It is not a secret that the ruling party is using unethical practices to intimidate our members. Many of our members are being sidelined during government programmes, which should benefit all citizens, because of their political affiliation and this is a violation of the country’s constitution. We call upon Zanu-PF to stop this behaviour so that we have a fair and acceptable election in 2023,” said Charamba.

MDC-T shadow minister of State for Masvingo Festus Dumbu confirmed that cases of political threats on opposition supporters are increasing in the province on a daily basis. He said his party is adopting strategies that will protect its supporters from the ruling party’s violent behaviour.

“It is true that opposition supporters are being threatened in Masvingo as the country is drawing closer to the 2023 elections. As a party we have adopted a strategy which will protect our people from this violence. Intimidation is what the ruling party knows and this is implemented through traditional leaders and members of the security sector,” said Dumbu.

Source – thenewshawks


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Politics

NGOs and litmus test of democracy through natural disasters: SA in good standing – IOL

OPINION: The importance of a democracy can be juxtaposed to the broader African continent, where NGOs are viewed as ‘regime change’ advocates.

BY: Ratidzo Makombe

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Development economist, Amartya Sen, noted in his famous text, “Development as Freedom”, that democracy is an important pillar for the economic development of any country. He alludes to how democracy is important when a country faces a natural disaster, such as the floods that ravaged Durban and other parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

For Sen, democratic countries with strong independent institutions can withstand unforeseen cataclysmic events, such as the floods in Durban. When substantiating this point, Sen draws examples from Botswana and Zimbabwe, where their experiences of famines that occurred in the early 1980s were not properly managed by the governments at that time, especially in the Zimbabwean case where the country was governed by democratic principles.

Within the African context, South Africa is often viewed as the beacon of democracy in Africa. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has held elections that have been rarely criticised by the international community and the country’s opposition parties.

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A practical assessment of democracy and its relationship with state institutions shows that South Africa seems to be in good standing. Although recently, the debate surrounding state capture has tested South African institutions’ resolve to complete the investigation process and release the state capture report, which is an indication that the institutions in the country are functioning reasonably well.

The Durban floods and the damage to the livelihoods of citizens in KZN can be viewed as a mammoth task for the government. It is safe to say that any government would be severely tested by a natural disaster, even in the most advanced societies. Because government interventions would involve monetary allocations, the fear of corruption would arise.

Citizens have often been confronted with corruption issues, particularly with the ongoing investigation of state capture. In October of 2020, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) announced an investigation of R10.5 billion in potentially corrupt Covid-19 spending across the country.

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It was not surprising that the public space was dominated by news about the potential looting of the funds being raised to support the victims of the flood. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that measures had been put to ensure that public officials would not divert the funds. Despite this, there is a high risk that corruption could hamper the rebuilding process in Durban.

Citizens are also wary of the government’s past involvement in aid for the vulnerable. This is evident with cases of corruption across South Africa involving councillors who would choose who receives the food parcels. Some have been accused of only giving parcels to their relatives and members of their constituencies, thereby sowing serious divisions within communities.

Instead of donating funds to the government, the citizens opted to support the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – Gift of the Givers – co-ordinating efforts to assist the victims. Indeed, of the fundamental tenets of a democracy is the vibrancy of civil society organisations such as the Gift of the Givers. One of the reasons such organisations thrive in South Africa can be attributed to the democratic environment created by the government.

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The importance of a democratic society can also be juxtaposed to the broader African continent, where NGOs are viewed as “regime change” advocates. It is essential to be cognisant of the importance of a democratic society in accommodating divergent non-state actors in the face of a natural disaster.

The political environment in South Africa is often viewed as being more receptive to NGOs, hence, the success of the NGOs such as the Gift of the Givers. Previously, the organisation was also at the forefront of assisting communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has been argued that the main role of NGOs is to complement the work that the government is conducting. This has seen many NGOs being at loggerheads with governments of other African countries. In 2017, a law passed in Addis Ababa stipulated that NGOs can only receive a maximum of 10% of their funding from abroad. The government, which is highly suspicious of foreign influence, said the law would ensure greater openness.

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In March, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in Zimbabwe threatened NGOs for interfering in the country’s governance.

These two cases are examples of the fractious relationship between African governments and NGOs. These examples put the Gift of the Givers case in perspective. It alludes to the tolerance of South Africa, which provides a platform for a harmonious relationship between the government and NGOs. In times of crisis, it is always vital to have a unified approach to addressing the existing challenges.

Democracy is at the heart of Sen’s work, and this is useful for not only South Africa but for Africa. NGOs are an integral part of the governing apparatus of every country, and the Gift of the Givers’ case is pertinent. As shown in the KZN flooding experience, the resilience of the society was brought to the forefront due to their inclusiveness, unity, and selflessness.

* Ratidzo Makombe is a doctoral candidate in Development Studies and a Researcher at the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC), South Africa.

* The views expressed here may not necessarily be that of IOL.

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