CHIEFS in Matabeleland South province have received inputs as part of efforts by Government to improve their livelihoods and restore their authority to strengthen the country’s traditional systems.
Each year the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) holds the Traditional Leaders’ Day where chiefs receive inputs. This year the day was marked under the theme “To cultivate a sense of togetherness and the importance of our traditional leaders and their role in society”.
All 30 chiefs in the province received a food hamper from ZNA, 10kg maize seed, 2kg small grain, 50kg Compound D fertiliser, 5kg cotton seed.
Speaking at the Matabeleland South Traditional Leaders’ Day at the Zimbabwe School of Infantry in Mbalabala Chief of Staff Quartermaster Staff of ZNA, Major General Hlanganani Dube said Government has sought to empower chiefs through programmes such as the Traditional Leaders’ Day.
He said colonial powers sought to destroy the country’s traditional values, cultures and norms to suppress traditional institutions.
“Consequently, through time cultural institutions have been compromised resulting in cultural erosion and decay of the fabric of our society. Having realised this perpetual marginalisation of traditional values and systems, the Government of Zimbabwe has sought to empower and restore the old glory of the chiefs through programmes such as the one we are witnessing today,” said Major General Dube.
“It is our firm conviction that traditional leaders deserve to be recognised with honour. It’s therefore Government’s desire to improve your recognition and livelihoods together with those of the communities you preside over. Let’s ensure history doesn’t repeat itself to allow foreigners to destroy us again. Let’s remain united and close them out.”
Major General Dube said the institution of traditional leaders was a key component of the African culture as they were custodians of tradition. He said traditional leaders have a crucial role in shaping cultural values, ethics, customs, traditions and wellbeing of societies.
He said the army values its cordial relations with traditional leaders. Major General Dube noted that traditional leaders used to command armies and were responsible for ensuring the security of their clans and kingdoms.
“It’s against this background that the military can’t be separated from traditional leaders. The role of traditional leaders was pivotal in community mobilisation towards the fight for the liberation of the country hence the importance attached to you by the new dispensation,” he said.
Major General Dube said chiefs were also crucial in the success of all Government programmes such as the Command Agriculture and Intwasa/Pfumvudza.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs, Chief Gwebu from Umzingwane applauded the army for the significant development done in various districts in the province that include construction of schools and clinics. “We would like to thank the army and Government for this kind gesture and prioritising the welfare of the chiefs. When you empower the chiefs then you empower the whole community.
We applaud the army for the various development projects they have embarked on such as construction of schools and clinics. May they continue with this noble cause,” he said.