by WALTER MARWIZI
MASVINGO, (CAJ News) – MASVINGO Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira wants all the 44 chiefs in the province to live a charmed life.
He made his views known to Vice President Kembo Mohadi at a meeting where the chiefs attended last Thursday.
Chidzamira proposed a raft of measures that would make the chiefs’ lives comfortable in rural areas marked by extreme poverty.
With hyper inflation of above 300 percent, many in Zimbabwe’s communal areas go hungry, have no medication and travel long distances on foot.
Chadzamira said it should be a priority for government to ensure chiefs were immune to this unprecedented hardship that has become pervasive in areas under their jurisdiction.
He said the starting point to uplift the lives of chiefs would be to allocate them lucrative out grower sugarcane plots in the Lowveld.
“We wish to see the lives of chiefs improved. They should get sugarcane plots in line with the devolution thrust so that their welfare improves. All the chiefs stand by ZANU PF and they are the custodians of our culture and peace in the communities,” Chidzamira said.
He said government should also electrify and sink boreholes at the homesteads of the traditional leaders.
Chadzamira noted while the chiefs got all-terrain 4×4 vehicles, government should also hire graders to repair roads to their homesteads to preserve the cars as rural roads were now in bad shape.
All these improvements to chiefs’ lives would prove costly to a sanctions- blaming government battling to deal with a strike by doctors which has gone on for weeks, crippling the public health delivery system.
Teachers have also threatened to strike, demanding better pay.
In his response, Mohadi said government would attend to the chiefs’ demands.
“The chiefs have candidly presented to me (vice president) their welfare issues that government needs to attend to, which constrain them in carrying out their roles in their areas of jurisdiction. I have taken note of that,” said the VP.
“Chiefs are the custodians of our traditions and culture and as government we recognize your role in peace building as well as nation building,” Mohadi said.
The acting president was later locked in a three hour closed door meeting with the chiefs where they reportedly also articulated their demands for a better life.
No chief was prepared to speak to CAJ News about their deliberations in the closed door meeting.
Chiefs have in the past been pampered by the Zanu PF government.
They have also courted controversy for openly supporting Zanu PF during election time and frogmarching people to its rallies, as well as threatening their subjects with expulsion in their areas if they supported opposition parties.
Under Zimbabwe’s constitution, chiefs are not allowed to dabble into politics.
- CAJ News