PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday promised to give chiefs farms and other luxuries, saying they deserved to be pampered with all kinds of niceties as they played an important role compared to politicians.
Mugabe, who was addressing chiefs during the chiefs council conference held at the Large City Hall in Bulawayo, said the traditional leaders will also take delivery of Isuzu double cab vehicles in a fortnight.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister, Saviour Kasukuwere on Thursday said 20 of the vehicles were already in the country. He said some of the vehicles were being imported from South Africa.
A search showed that a new Isuzu double cab vehicle can cost as much as $30 000.
“If we promise people, we always make sure that the promises are fulfilled and in two weeks’ time, the chiefs will be coming to get their vehicles in Harare.
“Make sure [Kasukuwere] these chiefs are given cars. These cars should be quality cars that are in good condition so that they carry out their duties,” Mugabe said to wild cheers from the chiefs.
The traditional leaders’ conference was attended by vice-presidents’ Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa, several government ministers and their spouses.
The opposition has condemned the move to splash millions to pamper chiefs with new vehicles as a vote-buying gimmick, but Mugabe yesterday said the traditional leaders need to be pampered with luxuries befitting their status and important role.
He ordered Lands minister, Douglas Mombeshora to ensure the chiefs were quickly allocated farms.
“There is also an issue raised by some of you chiefs who say they were not allocated farms. Those who did not get them, the lands minister Mombeshora will make sure that you are allocated one,” Mugabe said.
Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira in his address said traditional leaders were behind Mugabe as the Zanu PF presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, before promising outright victory for the ruling party,
“As chiefs, we are all saying the candidate for Zanu PF in the presidential election next year is Mugabe, we are fully behind Mugabe’s candidature as chiefs,” he said.
Chiefs have always been a vital cog in Zanu PF’s electioneering machinery ahead of any election.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said chiefs should not become political commissars of Zanu PF, saying it was unconstitutional.