Mnangagwa clarifies chiefs' role in politics

MUTARE - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned traditional leaders to keep out of politics but not to be political ignoramuses as he clarified provisions of Zimbabwe’s new Constitution.

Mnangagwa, who is also minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, told a public lecture on the constitution at Mutare Teachers’ College last week that chiefs should be “politically neutral” but need not be “ignorant”.

“The constitution states that traditional leaders are politically neutral but not politically ignorant,” Mnangagwa said.

“Zvakasiyana mahwisisa? (It’s different do you understand?),” the vice president added.

“You are politically neutral and not politically ignorant. Mofanira kuhwisisa politics nekuti imi madzimambo ndimi munochengeta murairo netsika dzepasi.

Hazvingagoni kuti muite zvose izvozvo musingagoni kuraira tsika dzapasi.

Tsika dzapasi ndidzo politics dzechivanhu. (You should understand politics because as chiefs you are the custodians of our traditional knowledge systems.

You can’t do that if you cannot advise on our cultural norms and values. Our cultural norms and values are our politics as Africans). Musapinda mupolitical activity but don’t be ignorant about it.”

Comments (14)

whats the difference between half-full and half-empty, i am really confused. anyhow thanks vp e. mnangagwa

osama bin laden - 18 May 2015

The message is clear but now the problem is how we interpret it.Some of the chiefs need to be educated consistently so that they would be fully aware of the real isssues on the ground

carson macate - 18 May 2015

These are just words, semantics. We are interested in the practicalities. Even the military and police are meant to be politically neutral but time and time again they are used for party partisan ends. The same Mnangagwa was urging chiefs to round up zanu supporters so that they can go and vote for his wife.

Galore 123 - 18 May 2015

Why is Mugabe not giving Munangagwa a PHD for trying without success to explain what he is trying to do.....Dr Munangagwa...does not fit does it??

Garikayi - 18 May 2015

Does the Constitution literally say, "traditional leaders are politically neutral but not politically ignorant?" It sounds to me like he is trying to create some wiggle room, so that they can argue that when chiefs are doing the bidding of ZANU-PF they are merely respecting the country's ”cultural norms and values,” because in their eyes, the culture of ZANU-PF is part of the country's “cultural norms and value.” However, any other opposition thinking does not reflect the same “cultural norms and value,” and therefore may be acted against. It's like when the police refuse to investigate violence against the MDC because it's “political.” However, MDC violence against ZANU-PF is a crime that will be severely punished. This is the crux of the problem in a country where the ruling party feels that it is one-and-the-same with the government, and therefore untouchable and un-accountable. It starts at the top where you have a President who argues that the country's courts cannot adjudicate internal ZANU-PF affairs, even when it's clear that there is direct evidence that national laws have been broken. As we all know, in Mugabe's world, all are equal, but some are more equal then others.

DL - 18 May 2015

Remember this guy is a politician, a zanu one for that matter. He will obviously tell people what they want to hear and people want to that traditional leaders should keep out of politics but obviously it's just to make everyone think he's with the people. We don't listen to what you say no more, we observe what you do. Zimbabweans are not stupid come on now.

redemption - 18 May 2015

I ,m wondering why people are fighting each other instead of working together fight for the bad economy which is very low. I think what they have to they must sit down and use deep thinking put Zimbabwe in what the country should be before.Zimbzbwe was a good country before the time when I was growing up. Stop working for your pockets others suffering like this please please

Thembinkosi - 18 May 2015

noted but not endorsed.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 19 May 2015

@ Galore.....couldn't have said it any better. But evidence of complicity in gukurahundi coming to light i fully understand y it is ever more pressing for these guys to stay in power! ICC must be rubbing their hands as soon as the old man croaks.

obama4ever - 19 May 2015

Does the constitution say chiefs should chase those who do not support ZANU PF. Why has ZANU PF ever since 2008 been using chiefs to campaign for ZANU PF or face anger of ZANU PF. What about the army and the police are they allowed to be political agents of ZANU PF or any political party or even support any political party.

ananian - 19 May 2015

@Galore well said , i think if people had sharp mind like yours , they would never listen to what the VP said because yesterday in midlands he was singing the different song , in Hurungwe and Tsholotsho they are forcing the chief to tell people to vote this rotten Zanu Pf part . He is like a python which changes colours to attract its prey . So people wake up don't be tricked by these old horses kare hagare ari kare

Mudhara - 21 May 2015

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