Chiefs to get new cars of their choice
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CHIEFS are going to get cars of their choice this year from a loan that will be advanced by Treasury as part of efforts to capacitate traditional leaders and recognise the role they play in community development, a Cabinet minister said last Friday.
Speaking to traditional leaders gathered at Chief Masundaâ€™s homestead in Zvishavane-Runde constituency last Friday, Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister, Dr Ignatius Chombo, said all the 120 chiefs were going to get new cars of their choice before the end of the year to afford them mobility and as part of their allowances.
He said the chiefs were not going to get the cars for free as has been reported but they were going to get them under a vehicle loan scheme where they would be asked to pay back the loans over a period of time.
"We want all our chiefs to get cars before the end of the year. We are aware that most of our chiefs did not get cars during the first allocation some years ago before the inclusive Government. Those that managed to get the vehicles no longer enjoy driving them because they have become so old.
"It has also been realised that it is not fair to select cars for the chiefs where they will be given Mazda. They should choose the type of cars they want. If they want Isuzu, Toyota or even a Mercedes let them have them as the cars will not be for free. What we have realised is that with the inception of the inclusive Government, the chiefs are no longer recognised and we are calling on the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti to consider the plight of our chiefs before they demonstrate against him. He seems to have the money for everything but not chiefs and civil servants.
"It is quite unfortunate that some of the ministers in the inclusive Government are working to strip our traditional leaders of dignity. They behave as if they are not Zimbabweans," he said.
He said chiefs were supposed to get cars in the same way MPs get them, adding that Minister Biti did not release money for chiefsâ€™ allowances for six months when he assumed office under the inclusive Government and never bothered to pay them or explain the problem.
Dr Chombo said the chiefs played an important role that should not be overlooked as their existence was provided for under the Traditional Leaders Act.
He said the MDC was determined to see the demise of the institution of chief by making them scrounge around for survival.
â€œWe have problems with some MDC ministers even when we started the community share ownership scheme as Treasury wanted control of the monies from the schemes while we were saying the money should be administered by the chiefs. We want them to be in control of natural resources in their localities and the MDC is refusing that. I wonder therefore why some chiefs have joined hands with the MDC even when it has shown so much dislike of the institution of chieftainship," he added.
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