TRADITIONAL leaders yesterday demanded duty-free vehicle imports,
farms, an increase in their monthly allowances, new vehicles, as well as
government-funded medical aid cover, as if oblivious to the economic
crisis the country is facing.
Speaking at the ongoing Chiefs’ Council meeting in Harare yesterday, the traditional leaders said they should be allowed to import vehicles duty-free at least once every three years as part of their benefits.
They also demanded to be allowed to choose for themselves suitable pieces of land ahead of their subjects and bemoaned delays in the disbursement of their monthly $300 allowances, which they described as a pittance.
“Why can’t government allow us to import vehicles duty-free since we are not being given the vehicles to use? This will help in alleviating our transport challenges,” Chief Masendu, of Matabeleland South, said.
Chief Ngungumbane from Midlands said the traditional leaders were “an important constituency”, which needed medical aid cover and deserved to be treated as legislators. “We also need clarity on the roles played by the MPs, chief, district administrator and the provincial administrator, as these people are fighting each other for recognition,” he said.
In response, Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage minister Abednego Ncube attributed the payment delays to fiscal challenges faced by the State.
“Once the economic climate improves, the ministry will take all necessary measures towards migrating to an efficient and effective payment system. The same applies to the outstanding purchase of vehicles, which is being affected by the constrained fiscal environment in the country,” he said.
“I wish to advise you that dialogue with the Finance ministry is continuing with the view of ensuring that the matter remains high on their priority list.” Newsday