Chiefs’ welfare top priority: President

Blessings Chidakwa Herald Reporter

The Government is committed to improving the conditions of service of traditional leaders who are not only custodians of the country’s moral and cultural fabric, but also accelerators of economic development through rural modernisation and industrialisation, President Mnangagwa has said.

In that spirit, the President availed the first batch of 100 replacement vehicles to chiefs in Harare yesterday and promised to constantly improve the welfare of traditional leaders who are also key in the maintenance of peace and unity in the country.

“Given the role of our traditional leaders as custodians of our culture, traditions, history and heritage, among other responsibilities, it is necessary that their dignity and conditions be of acceptable standards.

“Besides being traditional leaders, Chiefs are also public servants, who are mandated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe to preside over their people, promote sound family values, resolve disputes and more importantly, champion the promotion and preservation of our culture and heritage. They are a critical cog in the national governance architecture,” he said.

The President added that his administration “recognises that the multi-faceted functions, roles and responsibilities of chiefs directly and indirectly contribute to unity, peace and development in our communities as well as rural development, modernisation, industrialisation and ultimately the attainment of our Vision 2030”.

Consequently, President Mnangagwa said despite economic sanctions, his administration will see to it that the welfare of chiefs is improved through provision of medical aid, funeral cover and electrification of their homesteads.

“Various Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been commissioned to provide additional services and utilities that uplift the livelihoods and standing of Traditional Leaders in general. These include the construction and maintenance of access roads to the homesteads of chiefs so that our people have access to the various services provided by chiefs. The electrification of the homes of chiefs; provision of water and sanitation facilities as well as the tillage programme, among other services are equally designed to benefit our communities as a whole,” said the President.

Chiefs applauded Government for giving them vehicles as that will ensure they reach all corners of their respective domains.

National Chiefs Council president Chief Mtshane Khumalo said the institution of traditional leaders values the support that the Government has rendered to them through the years.

“We are also glad for other issues such as payments of allowances, provision of medical aid services, maintenance of roads in rural areas, electrification and drilling of boreholes at Chiefs homesteads.

“Our communities are benefiting immensely from the development through your (the President’s) support and astute leadership. With your guidance and support Chiefs have reached remarkable heights,” he said.

Chairperson of the Chiefs Council in Mashonaland West province Chief Ngezi said the gesture shows that President Mnangagwa recognises and respects their role.

“This also shows that the Government supports us in our day-to-day operations. Eventually, our places will develop and no one will die of hunger as we can access all areas even when there is a disaster a Chief can rush to offer help,” he said.

A female chief from Matabeleland, Chief Sinasengwe, said words are inadequate to thank President Mnangagwa’s administration for continuing to look after their welfare.

“We are truly indebted for the gesture which will make our work easier to carry out. Surely the President is leaving no one and no place behind as Chiefs from all the corners of the country are benefiting,” she said.

Chief Musarurwa from Mashonaland East province hailed the President for working closely with the traditional leadership.

“Our mobility has now been made easy for us to carry out our duties as Chiefs without difficulties. We can also spearhead development in our areas reaching even the furthest places, making sure that orphans and widows are catered for. Even the less privileged, we can now ferry them to hospitals,” he said.

Another female chief from Gutu in Masvingo province, Chief Chimombe said the new vehicle will enable her to reach her people.

“Our old vehicles were no longer performing efficiently, experiencing mechanical faults more often. I was failing to cover four wards under my jurisdiction on foot as my vehicle had broken down.

“I am elated that my work will now be going on smoothly. I promise to deliver my duties wholeheartedly,” she said.

Among those who witnessed the vehicle handover ceremony were Local Government Minister Winston Chitando, Minister of Defence, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet Lovemore Matuke among other top Government officials.

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