MASVINGO – Former Vice President and Zanu PF second secretary Kembo Mohadi who was on a week and half tour of Masvingo province where he was meeting traditional leaders and the party’s District Coordinating Committee (DCC) members has offered a US$50 allowance among other perks to traditional leaders in a bid to woo them to mobilise their subjects into voting for Zanu PF in 2023.
Zanu PF seems to be fretting over voter registration patterns which have seen a number of urban folks registering more than their rural counterparts as the party rely on the rural vote while the opposition has urban areas as their strongholds.
Zanu PF has a known history of using traditional leaders to intimidate and coerce people into voting for the ruling party.
Mohadi promised the traditional leaders that government was going to regularise all those traditional leaders who were not registered and not getting salaries as well as giving them name badges.
In Gutu, Kembo called a director in the Ministry of Local Government and asked what they had in store for the traditional leaders who in turn said they were going to increase kraal heads basic salaries, and give them a US$ allowance.
“You heard what he said; they are going to increase your allowances so you should work together with the DCCs,” said Mohadi.
He went on to tell village heads that they were supposed to help the DCC in compiling cell lists since they are the ones with people.
He also warned traditional leaders to be aware of various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that bring food and financial aid saying they were regime change agents.
“There are various NGOs that are coming in with aid to your communities. Those people have no genuine causes because they are the ones who put us on sanctions so that they will put a leader they want. If they come, tell them that you will not vote for those they want, let us fight against this together and be resilient,” he concluded.
Recently in Zaka, Chief Ndanga born Wilson Makono urged his village heads to report all NGOs that intent to operate in their areas before giving them permission.
Political commentator Dr Alexander Rusero said the move was just a reaffirmation to the Chiefs that they remain steadfast in supporting the ruling party as they have already been doing.
“We all know that for the umpteenth time, traditional leaders have remained the appendage of Zanu PF so when you have a party delegate at the highest level of the Vice President going to reassure them of the better things to come, I think it’s just a matter of reminding them that Zanu PF still holds them in high regards,” said Dr Rusero.
He went on to say the move was not a new tactic given the relationship between traditional leaders and party has always existed saying it was not their creation but the system was created by the colonial regime and Zanu PF went on to perfect it.
“I don’t see this as a new tactic; we all know the organic relationship that existed between Zanu PF and traditional leaders. This is not actually Zanu PF’s construction, as early as 1940 traditional leaders had ceased to be traditional leaders, they are the same instruments that were used by successive erstwhile colonial regimes for divide and rule tactics.
“If you read history well, by 1940 Chiefs were no longer for the people but an imposition by the colonial rule. Actually Chiefs imposed by that time were just stooges and there is a historical attestation to that. Zanu PF has just perfected the tactic by oiling it and make sure that Chiefs enjoy trinkets and junkets of luxurious life where they are given cars among other things, so it’s just a marriage of convenience that has been there,” he added.
However, Masvingo District’s Chief Mugabe born Matubede Mudavanhu said the promises made to the traditional leaders have nothing to do with politics as it was government’s duty to cater for the welfare of traditional leaders.
“This has nothing to do with politics, government has a duty to cater for the welfare of its traditional leaders and allowances cannot be given every day, it’s done when there is a chance like what they did now. This is a government’s duty which it’s fulfilling, nothing more,” said Mugabe.
Zanu PF has been known for installing traditional leaders who are loyal to the party and is allegedly installing former uniformed forces personnel at the expense of following proper procedures.
In Masvingo province, a number of Chiefs who include Ndanga and Neromwe are former police bosses while Nemauzhe (Nelson Murandu) is former army personnel.