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Traditional leaders want Government to give them vehicles and said using public transport was compromising their dignity. They bemoaned poor funding in the National Budget which they said made it difficult for them to fulfil their constitutional mandate.

Chiefs who represent traditional leaders in Senate made the plea recently when Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, steered the Finance Bill in the Upper House.

Manicaland representative, Chief Chiduku, said while the country faced economic hardships, it was disturbing that chiefs appeared the biggest losers.

He said chiefs have not received salary increment in the past four years.

“When the President said chiefs must be given cars, those are the only cars we have had,” he said.

“All the transformation that has happened in the Government, it has become apparent that there are no more allocations for chiefs’ cars,” he said.

Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira said it was disturbing that some sections of the media attacked traditional leaders for requesting for vehicles despite the fact that they last received them in 2004.

“The chief got a car 10 years ago. Parliamentarians got cars in 2005, 2008 and it is now three times after 2004. As chiefs, we are just told that there is no money. During that period, the ministers of Finance always said there was no money but they gave Parliament money for cars in 2005, 2008 and 2013.

MDC-T Senator for Masvingo, Misheck Marava added: “If you compare our chiefs to the chiefs in Nigeria or close by in South Africa, you will find that we are treating our local chiefs as if they are not chiefs.

“They wait for their subjects in villages to buy them beer. If it were possible, you would restore a bit of dignity to our chiefs. In fact they are now very good. Long back they used to be partisan but now they are non-partisan.”

In his response, Minister Chinamasa said Treasury would do everything within its power to address chiefs’ concerns.

Source : The Herald