TENSIONS ahead of watershed elections have taken a new twist after an aspiring opposition legislator petitioned the High Court seeking an order to stop a traditional leader representing the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF) in the July polls.
Leman Pwanyiwa, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party member, has filed the urgent chamber application arguing Chief Bramwell Bushu of Shamva in the Mashonaland Central Province had violated the constitution by seeking election.
Bushu and Pwanyiwa are both eyeing the Shamva South constituency, a stronghold of ZANU-PF.
Under Zimbabwean laws, chiefs and traditional leaders must be apolitical but they are notorious for aligning themselves with the ruling party and victimizing opposition supporters.
Pwanyiwa argued that the High Court recently ruled that the involvement of traditional leaders in partisan politics and declaration of allegiance to
ZANU-PF was a breach of the right to free and fair elections as enshrined in sections of the constitution.
Last month the court ruled against this conduct by chiefs. The ruling was in favour of opposition leader Elton Mangoma, who appealed to the courts after National Chiefs Council head, Fortune Charumbira, pledged the organisation’s support for ZANU-PF.
Pwanyiwa’s application lodged via the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
thus advocates for the court to order ZANU-PF to remove Chief Bushu as a National Assembly candidate for the July 30 elections. “By his conduct, Chief Bushu acted in a partisan manner, which will further the interests of ZANU-PF party or its cause,” reads the petition.