President Mnangagwa hands over 100 new vehicles to chiefs President Mnangagwa talks to Chiefs while Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando (left) looks on during the hand over of replacement vehicles to Chiefs in Harare yesterday. — Picture Innocent Makawa

Chronicle Reporter

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa today handed over 100 Isuzu double-cab vehicles to traditional chiefs as part of Government efforts to enhance their critical role in communities and in the development of the country as a whole.

The 100 Isuzu double-cab vehicles are the first batch of replacement vehicles for chiefs, which is in line with the Government policy of vehicle replacement.

Officiating at the hand-over event in Harare this morning the President said traditional leaders as custodians of the country’s culture, traditions, history and heritage, among other responsibilities deserve to be accorded dignity and favourable conditions of operations.

“Besides being traditional leaders, chiefs are also public servants, who are mandated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe to preside over their people, promote sound family values, resolve disputes and more importantly, champion the promotion and preservation of our culture and heritage,” he said.

“They are a critical cog in the national governance architecture. Our traditional leaders are indeed the collective embodiment of who we are as Zimbabweans and the descendants of the Great Munhumutapa.

“This gesture, thus, attests to my Government’s commitment to improving their conditions and the efficiency with which our traditional leaders undertake their duties.”

President Mnangagwa said his administration further recognises that the multi- faceted functions, roles and responsibilities of chiefs directly and indirectly contribute to unity, peace and development in our communities as well as rural development, modernisation, industrialisation and ultimately the attainment of our Vision 2030.

“We shall, therefore, continuously pursue such interventions to improve the welfare and general conditions of service for our esteemed chiefs,” he said.

“Further, my Government will continue to provide medical insurance to our chiefs, headmen and village heads from all communal areas. At the same time, Government has put in place a funeral assistance package for chiefs.”

The President said various ministries, departments and agencies have also been commissioned to provide additional services and utilities that uplift the livelihoods and standing of traditional leaders in general.

These include the construction and maintenance of access roads to the homesteads of chiefs so that our people have access to the various services provided by chiefs. The electrification of the homes of chiefs, provision of water and sanitation facilities, as well as the tillage programme, among other services are equally designed to benefit communities as a whole.

Despite the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western countries, President Mnangagwa assured chiefs that his Government will, through the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, continue to address matters related to the institution of the traditional leaders.

“In view of the dire effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon, I want to assure the nation that measures have been put in place to guarantee adequate food for all communities of our country.

“I appeal to you as traditional leaders to go and re- assure our people that no communities will starve. As chiefs, you are all-embracive in the manner you deal with your people and I urge this spirit to continue, while the identification of vulnerable households, in particular, widows and child-headed families, should be undertaken timely,” said the President.

“Let us continue to preach peace, love, unity and hard work among our people.”

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