Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
CHIEFS will get their brand new Isuzu double cab vehicles in the next two weeks, Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said yesterday.
The Government procured the 226 vehicles following a request by the traditional leaders. Addressing the traditional leaders during the 2017 Annual National Chiefs’ Conference in Bulawayo yesterday, Cde Kasukuwere said some of the cars were already in the country. He said a ceremony would be held in the coming two weeks where the vehicles would be handed over to the traditional leaders.
“There is an issue that is on everyone’s lips, one on which we would like to thank you your Excellency. Chief Charumbira has spoken about it. It is the issue of vehicles for chiefs. In about two weeks we shall have a ceremony in Harare where chiefs will come with their drivers and we will hand over the vehicles. Each chief will go back home driving,” he said.
Cde Kasukuwere said the allocation of vehicles to the chiefs was part of a cocktail of measures being implemented by the Government to improve the welfare of traditional leaders in the country. He revealed that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Ignatius Chombo had promised to look into chiefs’ allowances with the view of reviewing them upwards.
“We are quite elated by the words that we got from Dr Chombo. He, without mentioning a specific figure said he would sit down to consider reviewing chiefs allowances. Dr Chombo also spoke about the plight and welfare of widows of traditional leaders. Once a chief dies their family remains behind in poverty. Dr Chombo promised to look into that matter,” he said.
Cde Kasukuwere said the Government was also considering the request by traditional leaders to be provided with decent accommodation. He also revealed that the Government would hold provincial assemblies with chiefs as a way of seeking to address some of the issues that were raised by traditional leaders during the conference.
“We heard the issues that are being raised by our traditional leaders. Together with fellow ministers here present we saw it fit that we move with haste to hold provincial assemblies with chiefs as a matter of urgency to hear some of the issues affecting our traditional leaders. So we have agreed with other ministers to have a blitz around the country, meeting our traditional leaders,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, president of Council of Chiefs Fortune Charumbira expressed gratitude to the Government for efforts being made to improve the welfare of traditional leaders. Chief Charumbira blasted those criticising the Government for buying vehicles for traditional leaders.
“We have been assured that we will get our cars by December. We thank you your Excellency. However, there are those who say that chiefs should not get cars and are going on about their vote buying chorus. Such people are enemies of the State,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Cde Patrick Zhuwao donated 30 tonnes of rice to the chiefs during the conference. Each of the chiefs who attended the conference left with a 50kg bag of rice with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo saying the rest of the consignment would be sent to the respective chiefs at a later date.-@irielyan