ZIMBABWE – The opposition PDP party says it is going ahead with plans to set up shadow councillors in all of the country’s 1,958 wards in a bid to counter the partisan activities of traditional leaders.
In a statement last Friday, PDP secretary general Gorden Moyo said his party has set itself an ambitious target of electing shadow councillors in every ward by end of February.
The officials will monitor cases where traditional leaders are often railroaded to become Zanu PF campaign managers and resource persons in the partisan distribution of food aid and farm inputs.
The PDP shadow councillors will also take interest in the way chiefs treat their subjects, Moyo said.
The former state enterprises minister lamented the politicisation of traditional leaders by the ruling party through privileges such as vehicles, power and piped water, farm machinery as well as monthly allowances.
He accused President Robert Mugabe of rewinding the clock back to the pre-independence era where traditional leaders were used as instruments of black oppression by the country’s erstwhile rulers.
… the current traditional leadership institution has been defiled by the nationalist authoritarian regime of Robert Mugabe, Moyo said.
PDP shadow councillors will therefore keep a close eye on chiefly activities with the aim of taking any unconstitutional practices to the Constitutional Court.
He continued: The shadow councillors of the party have an urgent task at hand. More than 2 million Zimbabweans are faced with hunger and starvation this year.
Zanu PF has the habit of politicising food aid to the local communities. Only Zanu PF card carrying members are given food rations, seeds and fertiliser.
Members of the opposition parties and church people who do not belong to Zanu PF structures are routinely discriminated against.
Therefore PDP shadow councillors are poised to become the voice of the discriminated, the poor and the food distressed communities.
Although the shadow councillors have less power to intervene effectively in stopping the shenanigans around food distribution, Moyo felt the presence of their point persons on local government issues countrywide would provide a strong alternative voice to challenge this hegemonic negative force of Zanu PF.
The PDP national leadership, led by party vice president, will monitor the election of shadow councillors in the provinces, Moyo said.
The concept of a shadow concept is a Westminster system which allows opponents to understudy the conduct and activities of any elected representative.