CHIEFS Council president, Fortune Charumbira, has praised government decision to buy 226 new all-terrain vehicles for chiefs, saying they were a God-given right befitting their status.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/SHARON SIBINDI
Speaking at the ongoing chiefs’ conference in Bulawayo, Charumbira said the vehicles were long overdue. He brushed aside criticisms from civic society groups who claimed the vehicles were a waste of taxpayers’ money and would further strain the national purse.
“We should not complain about chiefs’ vehicles even if each vehicle were to cost $400 000. The yearly budget of the Queen of England is much higher than the budget of our entire chiefs annually. We have not heard anyone complaining about this anomaly,” he said.
“So we should respect the chiefs. This is our God-given heritage, so buy us our vehicles happily. Chiefs’ spouses were being harassed when they board public transport and therefore they need the vehicles to protect their wives from abuses and mixing them with the ordinary citizens. Our wives are now treated as girlfriends because they board public transport,” Charumbira added.
Speaking at the same event, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Thursday said 20 of the vehicles were already in the country. He said some of the vehicles are being imported from South Africa. A search showed that a new Isuzu double cab vehicle can cost as much as $30 000.
Charumbira also accused former Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture Heritage minister Abednico Ncube of gross incompetence by failing to buy them new car since he came into office in 2015.
“From 2015 up to this time, our ministry was now rotten especially with regard to the welfare of chiefs and headmen. During this period, we discovered that whenever the government is not properly functioning well, it depends on who is in charge of its ministries. We would like to thank President (Robert Mugabe) for addressing this issue.
“All the promises pledged by previous ministers for cars and other benefits were ignored. We would like to thank you minister, Kasukuwere for coming to our rescue,” Charumbira said.