‘Chiefs vital cogs for development’

The Chronicle

Harare Bureau
TRADITIONAL leaders play a critical role in ensuring the success of Zimbabwe’s development agenda being pursued by Government, President Mnangagwa said during the annual Chiefs’ Conference in Harare yesterday.

In his address to the traditional leaders, which outlined socio-economic issues, the President stressed the Government’s thrust to modernise, press economic growth and implement industrialisation in rural communities to process local products. He reiterated that nobody would be left behind in the development process.

“My administration is alive to the fact that our nation is a sum total of the communities you govern. Hence, accelerated modernisation, industrialisation and the economic growth we are desirous to achieve can only be realised through the full participation of the institution of traditional leadership.

“You as chiefs are indeed key cogs in the governance and development architecture of our great nation. In light of the above, let us continue to work together to safeguard the rich cultural heritage, traditions, and customs, while ensuring broad-based empowerment and a better quality of life for our people,”

Ministries and other Government agencies would continue to work with chiefs and their communities.

The President commended chiefs for mobilising their communities to participate in Government agriculture programmes that resulted in a bumper harvest last year and encouraged them to do the same this year given prospects of another good season.

“To bolster the efforts towards a sustained food security status, the Zunde raMambo/Isiphala seNkosi Programme is being supported as our indigenous agriculture production and social safety net system.

“Most importantly, my Government is transforming communal agriculture into a commercial activity, informed by the mantra production, productivity and profitability. To this end, we are setting up rural industrial systems and infrastructure to facilitate value addition and beneficiation of products found within our localities,” he said.

The President said the Mutoko Royal Fruit and Vegetable Manufacturing Factory; Mwenezi Mapfura/Amarula Factory and Makorokoro Agriculture Integrated Community Business Hub in Mangwe District were examples of rural industrialisation under the Second Republic.

He urged the chiefs to take advantage of the innovation revolution and heritage-based initiatives to forge partnerships and identify products and resource endowments within their communities that can be commercially exploited to improve incomes and the quality of life of people.

“The Second Republic is championing development that leaves no one and no place behind. In this regard, it is important to re-think and re-imagine job creation, broad-based empowerment, and inclusive growth. The concept of employment creation and development must now be at community level and not only in towns and cities.

“As such, the young talented boys and girls within your areas of jurisdiction must be urged to take advantage of the initiatives my Government is implementing across all sectors of the economy.”

Chiefs follow proceedings during the meeting. (Pictures by John Manzongo)

The President said the budget for devolution and decentralisation had been more than doubled in next year’s national budget from $19,5 billion to $42,5 billion and was transforming the rural landscape through the construction of new clinics and schools, the drilling and equipping of boreholes, and other amenities.

He called on chiefs to play a central role in the selection of projects to be implemented in their communities, adding that the Provincial Councils and Administration Act is being amended to give impetus to the devolution agenda.

The Traditional Leaders Act, the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act were also being aligned with the Constitution.

President Mnangagwa said Government was alive to the needs of hither-to “remote communities” like the Tjawo/San community of Tsholotsho and the Doma of Kanyemba and would install appropriate traditional leadership structures in these areas.

“Relatedly, the resuscitation of chieftainships that were downgraded by the white settler colonial regime must be speedily concluded. As President and the appointing authority, I exhort the ministry and its relevant structures to give this matter a greater level of attention.

“Endless disputes must never be allowed to take precedence over the collective good of our people. The undue delays in concluding these matters has far-reaching negative impacts, which include delayed development and deprivation of our communities’ architecture,” said the President.

He called on the traditional leaders to safeguard society and the country’s institutions from alien cultures and contamination from abhorrent and harmful practices like ritual killings and child marriages.

On the chiefs’ welfare, the President said Government would continue working on improving them.

The President commended traditional leaders for supporting the work of the First Lady through her Angel of Hope Foundation in restoring and promoting the country’s culture.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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