Sunday 29 October 2023


NATIONAL Council of Chiefs president, Chief Mtshana Khumalo, has said it is critical for traditional leaders to attend the ruling party Zanu-PF’s annual people’s conferences and events as they provide a platform to discuss the national development agenda including issues peculiar to rural communities.

Speaking at the just-ended Zanu-PF 20th Annual National People’s Conference in Gweru, Chief Mtshana said traditional leaders have a responsibility to explain policy and development issues to their subjects hence the need to interact with the national leadership and be able to share the insights with communities at grassroot level.

This is despite the negative criticism by opposition elements who desperately seek to isolate traditional leaders from the national discourse and sow discord between leaders and their people.

Instead, said Chief Mtshana, the presence of chiefs at the Zanu-PF indaba symbolises unity and collaboration between the Government and traditional leadership, which is the bedrock of Zimbabwe’s anti-colonial resistance and force behind sustainable progress.

“Year in year out we are invited to attend your conferences as a party. In most cases people don’t understand why we attend — questioning our motives for attending a political party conference,” said Chief Mtshana. 

“However, if you were all listening to the deliberations that were taking place here since morning, you will realise that they all spoke about what is happening in the rural areas,” said Chief Mtshana.

“To those who know about issues to do with the development of Zimbabwe, you will all know that the rural development we will be referring to is the very projects that have been deliberated on during this conference.”

The chief’s message resonated well with sentiments from the rest of the delegates who reiterated the critical role played by traditional leaders in shaping policy and driving community development.

“It’s important that as traditional leaders we are in a position to also respond to questions raised on progress made relating to key developmental issues, and this we can only get from the discussions that take place at such party conferences,” said Chief Mtshana. 

“We also want to see how we, together with our subordinates can then assist the Government and the party to implement these projects.

“We further thank President Mnangagwa and his Government for the effort that has been put in place to ensure that the projects that have been started are completed. It is crucial that when people are told that there is a certain project that will take place in their area, they have confidence it will be implemented,” he said.

Chief Mtshana further congratulated President Mnangagwa and the revolutionary party for the resounding victory in the August 23 harmonised elections. He said one of the reasons for the party’s continued victory was its success and consistency in holding annual people’s conferences.

“We thank you for successfully holding these conferences to review where you are coming from and also map the way forward. Culturally, when people meet it is a remedy to reaffirm unity and success,” said the chief.

In his keynote address, President Mnangagwa re-affirmed his party and Government’s commitment towards ensuring development in all corners of the country in line with the philosophy of “leaving no one and no place behind”.

He said his administration remains focused on prioritising rural development initiatives, including infrastructure, agricultural reforms and enhancing access to basic services like education and healthcare.

“The modernisation and mechanisation of the agriculture sector, including among smallholder and communal farmers is being given priority. Efforts to improve livestock production, fisheries and poultry, among other programmes, are being intensified,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Our country has already been robbed of time for development due to the 23 years of sanctions. We must never bury our heads in the sand. Let us, therefore, continue to guarantee successes in agriculture and food security, mining, manufacturing, and tourism, among other sectors.”

The last five years have already shown what Zimbabwe is capable of and through embracing peace, unity, and hard work, the country has scored numerous successes in transforming the economy and ordinary people’s livelihoods, said the President. Chronicle


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