PRESIDENT of the National Council of Chiefs (NCC) Fortune Charumbira, who was censured for rallying other chiefs to support the ruling Zanu PF party in this year’s general elections, has been ordered to offer an apology by the court after being served with a High Court order on Tuesday.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Charumbira was given a seven-day ultimatum within which to issue the apology, which now according to the service of court papers, expires on June 14, 2018 of which if he fails to do so he will be found guilty of contempt of court.

According to the return of service, the court order was received by Charumbira’s sister Nyaradzo.

Part of the return of service document read: “Court order served on Nyaradzo Charumbira, the sister of Chief Fortune Charumbira, who accepted service on behalf of the first respondent (Chief Charumbira) at 15:30hrs.”

Chief Charumbira was slapped with the order following an application by the Election Resource Centre (ERC), who petitioned the court demanding that he retracts his statements, rallying other traditional leaders to support Zanu PF in this year’s elections.

In his affidavit, ERC chairperson Trust Maanda had said Charumbira’s statements were unlawful and unconstitutional.

According to Maanda, the application emanated from Charumbira’s remarks in October last year during a meeting of the NCC.

Maanda said Charumbira is said to have repeated the utterances in January saying since former president Robert Mugabe had been deposed and President Emmerson Mnangagwa having taken over, on January 14, 2018, he was urging all Chiefs to rally behind the ruling party.

“His remarks to the effect that Chiefs and Zanu PF are one were broadcast widely on national television and newspapers. I contend that the remarks made by Chief Charumbira violate the letter, spirit and ethos of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the obligations imposed on the first respondent (Charumbira) by the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Maanda said in his founding affidavit.

ERC further demanded Charumbira to make an apology to the people of Zimbabwe over the “unconstitutional” remarks and further that Local Government minister July Moyo, and NCC should institute disciplinary proceedings against him.