Traditional leaders in Gwanda Ward 4 have expressed concerns over political parties who come into their area and force them to mobilize people for political events.
Speaking at a training workshop last week, traditional leaders said over the years some political parties have been asking them to mobilize people for political events and they would comply.
“What should we do when political parties approach us as traditional leaders to mobilize our people for their political meetings?” asked one participant. “If we refuse, they then suspect you belong to another political party.”
Habakkuk Trust Chief Executive Officer Mr. Dumisani Nkomo explained that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, section 280 is very clear on how traditional leaders should conduct themselves.
He said, “The Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear on that. It says traditional leaders should not be members of any political party. They should never further the interests of any political party.”
“It is important to know the Constitution and approach the courts if ever you are forced to partake in political meetings as traditional leaders. The problem is fear and this fear comes because of lack of knowledge on human rights and the Constitution.”
The participants requested Habakkuk Trust to organize a meeting where relevant Ministers, political party leaders, traditional leaders, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the community members come together to clarify this issue to everyone.
Meanwhile, 51 people have been trained on advocacy and human rights in Stanmore in Gwanda. Some of the issues that came out during the two-day training workshop include access to clean water, involvement of people living with disabilities in all community structures and human rights abuses.