By Staff Reporter
THE cash-strapped government has acquired 226 Isuzu double cab vehicles for local traditional chiefs as Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira also urged his colleagues to submit themselves to Zanu PF authority.
This was revealed by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere (pictured) in a move that spotlights on Zanu PF’s alleged vote buying antics.
He was addressing traditional leaders Wednesday ahead of their Friday conference in Bulawayo with President Robert Mugabe.
“We have reactivated that process now and even district administrators who have been deprived we have bought about 73 vehicles so that they can work well,” Kasukuwere said.
“Why should we hesitate to buy vehicles for chiefs, especially those who are substantive? Today you will see a sample vehicle, but we said by the time we go to Bulawayo we should have made some progress.”
The vehicles are being purchased through Treasury, Kasukuwere admitted.
He said some of the vehicles were being sourced from South Africa.
As Zanu PF political commissar, Kasukuwere has his party’s 2018 re-election hopes in his hands.
The burly Zanu PF official also said in his address that the government “cannot play games with the institution of chiefs” adding that his was not impressed with the welfare of chiefs.
“Chiefs and the President are one,” he said, adding, “All the concerns you have are with me as your minister.
“I have arranged that you meet all the ministers at the conference so that they can address all your concerns.
“We must agree on a way forward. We must agree on a path that promotes good living among our people.
“Through the chiefs we build a good country and communities. You will have the platform to share the aspirations of your people as well as your own. We cannot have a situation where our chiefs get stranded or fail to access fuel. Why do we humiliate ourselves?”
Chiefs council president Fortune Charumbira urged chiefs to unite with the country’s leadership for the betterment of the country.
“Let us support the new minister in his endeavours. It does not help to like the President while doing things that removes Zanu-PF from power.
“If you like President Mugabe and do not wish for an inclusive Government we should interact honestly,” he said.
Charumbira said Zanu-PF should remain in power.
The timing of the vehicle purchase for traditional leaders is likely going to ignite more controversy among opponents who have always accused their common rival of funding its electoral campaigns through Treasury.
Chiefs are seen as crucial to the ruling party’s political survival as they command respect among the country’s traditional communities.
Zanu PF opponents have long called on chiefs to depoliticised as they have often proved a stumbling block to the opposition’s own election hopes.