Govt splashes millions on chiefs

....Raises economic shock fears



The government has splashed millions of United States dollars on chiefs from across the country and delivered over 300 vehicles for them, a development frowned upon by some observers who described the move as a case of misplaced priority at a time the economy is bleeding.

The move has also raised questions over whether there was a budget for the vehicles that could have cost the government over US$15m.This follows last year’s statement by Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube who warned of possible economic shocks due to elections as there was likely to be overspending.

Ncube budgeted ZWL$74bn for elections and said that Zimbabweans must brace for further fiscal shocks ahead of the 2023 elections that he said may likely see over US$100m being used.

He said the US$100m for elections comes as the country also used the same amount for the National Population and Housing Census that also came with fiscal shocks.

The cars for the traditional leaders have been received with mixed reactions with some saying it was waste of taxpayers’ money and could be misplaced priority while others said it was necessary given the significance of traditional leaders in the country.

Others view it as an election strategy to have chiefs rally support for Zanu PF.

Information permanent secretary Nick Mangwana said the vehicles were meant for chiefs to traverse areas of their jurisdiction and meeting communities.

Mangwana said mobility is key to deliver the chiefs’ traditional mandates.

Mnangagwa told chiefs and government officials at the chiefs indaba in Bulawayo yesterday that they should assist the ruling party to win the 2023 harmonized elections so as to promote development in the country.

“We are going to have our harmonised general elections this year around the end of July or August. Part of our voters are under you. You coming as many as you are, I think you have hope or trust in me because if not you could have been few. Since you have trust in the second republic we also have hope in you traditional leaders that you have to defend our land.

“You have to defend the inheritance of black people, you have to defend the identity and respect of the African person by voting for the revolutionary party in this country Zanu PF. Zimbabwe under the second republic has a philosophy that we follow that we are friends to all and an enemy to none. But those who choose to be our enemies, that’s their business,” he said.

The President said he will soon proclaim the election date after gazetting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delimitation report in February.

“We want peace, unity and harmony in all our communities. Our communities predominantly are under traditional leaders. If we look at our population which is about 15 to 16 million, something like 10 million live in the countryside under the traditional leaders.

“The other five or six million are in urban areas so we want peace. And we depend on you, the traditional leaders to foster peace, love unity and harmony where you come from, “he said.

The two-day national chiefs’ conference started on Tuesday with more than 600 traditional leaders engaging with government officials to discuss issues affecting their communities.




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