Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Traditional leaders vote in a manner that helps to advance the interests of communities they represent when they are called to do so in Parliament when deciding an issue in a non-partisan way, Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa has said.
VP Mnangagwa said when chiefs vote in Senate during division of the House, they do not advance the interest of any political party but do so in fulfilment of the Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Orders.
He was responding to a question from Manicaland Senator David Chimhini (MDC-T) who asked the fairness of the whipping system which he said resulted in chiefs voting along partisan lines.
Sen Chimhini described the voting of Senator chiefs as partisan, something he said offended the Constitution which required them to be non-partisan.
But VP Mnangagwa said Senator chiefs voted to advance the interests of their communities and not for any political party.
“It is to be noted that when chiefs in Parliament carry out their duties as Senator chiefs, they are not acting to further their own interests but would be acting as representatives of the communities where they belong. When there is a division in the House of Senate, Senator chiefs vote in relation to the interests of the communities that they represent which is not in violation of Section 281 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“However, if a Senator Chief verbally and openly expresses themselves to be acting in violation of Section of 281 (2a-c), that would be considered a violation of the Constitution and is not recommended.”
Responding to another question, VP Mnangagwa said Government had done everything possible to ensure that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission discharged its constitutional duties independently.
He said its independence was shown through recruitment procedures where vacancies of commissioners are advertised, candidates were shortlisted before interviews were conducted.
In relation to the complaints of politically-motivated violence and alleged human rights abuse raised by independent candidate in Hurungwe West June 10 2015 by-election, Mr Temba Mliswa, VP Mnangagwa said the Commission carried out its investigations and made necessary recommendations to the relevant Government arm.
“The Commission carried out its investigations. It then generated a report and thereafter, it acted on its findings by directing the Commissioner-General of Police to act upon the findings as outlined in Section 243 (h) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,’ said VP Mnangagwa.
“The ZHRC also acted on another complaint alleging violations of human rights of an independent candidate in Hurungwe West by-elections in Mashonaland West. This complaint was submitted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission carried out its investigations and generated a report with specific recommendations which it submitted to ZEC for consideration and action.”
He said it was therefore not factual to assert that the Commission could not act on its findings when it acted in line with its mandate of directing and making recommendations to other institutions for further action.