Villagers walk out on Chief Charumbira

MASVINGO - Scores of villagers in Masvingo West walked away while the president of the Chiefs Council, Fortune Charumbira was spewing Zanu PF platitudes on Sunday.

Villagers told the Daily News that they had attended Chief Charumbira’s meetings after they were instructed by village heads that the meeting will announce a new food distribution programme.

Charumbira is said to have called up four aspiring Zanu PF candidates to introduce them to the people.

Innocent Mutanha said some villagers were forced to walk for over 30km to the rally held at Charumbira Business Centre near the chief’s homestead, and were angered to find out they had been fooled to believe that the agenda of the meeting was food, when it was a ploy to introduce Zanu PF candidates for Masvingo West Constituency.

“Hundreds of villagers including myself who had travelled long distances after being misled by Charumbira walked away the moment he attempted to introduce four aspiring candidates for his party primaries,” said Mutanha from Mujuru village.

Chief Charumbira allegedly called up four aspiring candidates, Namatirai Chivhanga, Ezra Chadzamira, Jabulani Mbetu and Beji Ndebele and ordered villagers to back any one of them in the Zanu PF primaries.

The winner is set to square off with MDC candidate, Takanai Mureyi, who is uncontested in his party.

Fuming villagers said the meeting turned to be a rally by the traditional leader, who is barred from meddling in politics under the new Constitutional order.

Chief Charumbira declined to comment.

“I cannot comment to you about that now because I am at a funeral and I am not aware of what you are asking me,” he said before hanging up his mobile phone.

Villagers accused him of continuing dabbling in politics.

“We had to walk away when we realised he was going into politics by calling Zanu PF candidates. At first he told us that food was coming to the villages as government has since started importing maize from Zambia and we were okay with that,” said another villager who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“But when he turned to politics, we left the rally because we are aware that the new Constitution does not allow traditional leaders to meddle in politics.”

MDC Masvingo provincial spokesperson, Harrison Mudzuri lambasted Chief Charumbira.

“Its very unfortunate that the president of the Chiefs Council becomes the first person to violate the new Constitution,” Muedzuri said.

“He is supposed to lead by example but he is setting the wrong tone to other chiefs and village heads. As MDC, we wish to have the powers to take necessary action and deal with such people who are actually saying the Constitution is nothing by deliberately failing to respect it.” - Godfrey Mtimba

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