African Times - - International/Africa -

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.

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