|Chiefs to push for No vote|
|Friday, 03 August 2012 00:00|
TRADITIONAL leaders say they will advise their constituents to vote against the draft constitution during referendum if their reservations are not captured.
They argue that the Copac management committee manipulated the document to undermine their authority.
Chiefs said they were waiting for a meeting of the Chief’s Council to come up with a position. They said they were likely to adopt the “no” vote resolution unless their jurisdiction over land was restored.
“If they don’t restore what the people said during the outreach programme, we are going to tell our people to vote “no” at the referendum,” said a chief who requested anonymity.
Added another chief: “This is an insult to the institution of chiefs. They have to know that we lead people permanently. I am sure the council is going to come up with a resolution that we will tell our people not to vote for this document because they spoke loud and clear that they wanted chiefs to be in control of the land.”
Chief Musarurwa, who is also Senator for Mashonaland East, said jurisdiction over land was supposed to be a preserve for traditional leaders. “What they have done is taking us back to the land apportionment era where the colonialists demarcated land and gave chiefs authority over communal land only. People spoke during the outreach that they wanted chiefs to have authority over land. Even Copac did not tamper with that but the management committee removed that,” he said.
Mashonaland Central Chief Chisunga added: “We expect the principals to restore what was said by the people during the outreach. We expect the draft constitution to have what was said by the people especially on jurisdiction over land. Everyone know that the land both communal and commercial are under chiefs but this was taken away from us.”
Parties in the inclusive Government have already had sight of the draft with Zanu-PF still reviewing it while MDC formations have already endorsed it. Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa last week said the fate of the draft constitution lay with the principals.However, traditional leaders, represented by the president of the Council of Chiefs Chief Fortune Charumbira, condemned the management committee for altering and omitting issues raised in previous drafts.
In a memorandum addressed to the principals, Copac management committee and the select committee, the traditional leaders expressed “deeply felt” reservations in the manner issues relating to them were handled.Chief Charumbira called on the Copac management committee to revisit some provisions as recommended.