In a controversial move that has sparked outrage among opposition supporters, Chief Masuka of Gokwe Sengwa in Zimbabwe is facing criticism for allegedly demanding a fine of a cow and US$65 from every supporter who attended the Citizens’ Coalition For Change (CCC) candidate validation meeting. The demand, which violates §281(2) of the Constitution, has raised concerns over the chief’s adherence to constitutional obligations.

The incident came to light after Team Pachedu, a prominent Zimbabwean civil society organization, tweeted about the Chief’s actions, urging citizens to contact him at 0778198555 to remind him of his constitutional responsibilities. The tweet further highlighted that the Chief specifically targeted the CCC, a political alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, ahead of the upcoming elections scheduled for August this year.

According to §281(2) of the Zimbabwean Constitution, citizens are guaranteed freedom of assembly and association. The provision explicitly prohibits the imposition of any fees or fines as a requirement for exercising this fundamental right. Chief Masuka’s demand for payment from CCC supporters attending the candidate validation meeting directly contravenes this constitutional provision.

The Chief’s actions have drawn strong condemnation from various quarters, with opposition politicians, human rights activists, and legal experts calling for immediate corrective measures. Critics argue that such demands not only infringe upon citizens’ rights but also undermine the democratic process, as political gatherings and consultations are crucial components of an inclusive and participatory democracy.

Moreover, this incident has sparked concerns about potential bias or political interference on the part of Chief Masuka, raising questions about his impartiality and commitment to upholding constitutional principles. The need for an independent and fair electoral process is paramount to ensure the legitimacy of the upcoming elections.

As news of the Chief’s demands spread, several individuals and organizations have taken to social media to express their discontent and call for swift action. Many are sharing their views using the hashtag #ConstitutionalObligations, which has gained traction on various online platforms.

In response to the growing backlash, civil society groups and legal organizations have vowed to address the matter and ensure that Chief Masuka’s actions are investigated thoroughly. They emphasize the importance of safeguarding the democratic rights of all citizens, regardless of their political affiliations.

As the issue continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how the authorities will respond to the allegations against Chief Masuka. The incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by Zimbabwe’s democratic process and the critical need for the protection of constitutional rights during the election season.

The Citizen’s Coalition For Change and other opposition groups have yet to release an official statement regarding the incident. However, with the attention now focused on Chief Masuka, it is expected that the matter will be addressed by relevant authorities in a timely and impartial manner to ensure a fair and transparent electoral process in Zimbabwe.

By Power

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