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‘Govt corrupting chiefs’

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The National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration co-minister Moses Mzila–Ndlovu has accused the government of alienating chiefs from their people by pampering traditional leaders with money and other inducements.

“The government has a misconception on what it means to be a chief,” he said.

“This action of even considering giving chiefs luxury vehicles, giving them a lot of money and housing them away from their people — since some chiefs have big houses far from their own community — is alienating chiefs from their people.

“People are beginning to think chieftainship is something to do with riches.”

Ndlovu said this “misconception” would destroy traditional leadership systems in the country.

“We are now heading towards a situation whereby chiefs will not be able to deal with issues faced by their own people because they now spend longer periods of time travelling away from them,” said the minister, who is also MP for Bulilima West in Matabeleland South.

“We need chiefs to be in their villages where they can easily address any problems that may arise. The chieftainship system is being contaminated by this philosophy of riches. People want to be chiefs in order to be rich instead of becoming chief in order to lead the people.” The minister added giving chiefs guns was unnecessary.

Chiefs have since last year been demanding 4×4 vehicles like Toyota Land Cruisers, saying the vehicles befit their status.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo reportedly appealed to President Robert Mugabe to press the ministry of Finance to release funding for vehicles for chiefs saying the traditional leaders deserved packages for their roles in society.

Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira also said traditional leaders had not been paid their $300 monthly allowances for the past three months.

Traditional leaders recently demanded an array of “perks” including guns, diplomatic passports and control of the Constituency Development Funds that are given to parliamentarians.

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