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Politicians must stop abusing traditional leaders

16 Nov 2020 at 05:51hrs | Views
COMMUNITY members from Tsholotsho have singled out abuse of traditional leaders by politicians as a major concern that has the potential of plunging vulnerable groups into starvation. This came out during a virtual district dialogue convened by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe on November 8, 2020.

Participants highlighted that in some wards, traditional leaders, mostly village heads, wear political party regalia during food aid registration and distribution meetings.

Tsholotsho is a semi-arid region so it has issues of food insecurity. It is shocking that during food aid registration and distribution, some village heads wear Tshirts belonging to certain political parties, this creates biases as in most cases, vulnerable groups such as orphans and the disabled are overlooked.

In some instances, village heads got directives from local political leaders when registering and distributing food aid. Other issues that came out during the dialogue include the absence of grassroot local government structures such as village development committees and ward development committees.

These structures are responsible for identifying and co-ordinating development initiatives at the local level. Participants noted that in some wards and villages these structures were non-existent and this made it difficult for active participation of citizens and dealt a heavy blow to development.

The dialogue unanimously resolved that there was need to conscientise traditional leaders on their constitutional roles such as the important role of facilitation of development enshrined in section 282(1)(c) of the Constitution. In light of this, the dialogue established committees in all the wards that are going to be responsible for engaging Traditional leaders and conscientising them on their constitutional obligations.

These committees will also be responsible for monitoring food registration and distribution meetings and providing periodic reports to the virtual platform that will be used during engagement initiatives.

The dialogue meetings are some among many interventions by Heal Zimbabwe to strengthen capacity of citizens to uphold participation, inclusion, transparency, accountability, and responsiveness principles and mechanisms. Such interventions help build peaceful and socially cohesive communities.

Source - newsday
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