Chiefs have pulled a shocker after demanding that government should offer them salaries and perks that are at par with those of civil servants alleging that practically their roles were far much demanding compared to government employees.
The controversial traditional leaders who over the years have been accused of being partisan as some openly campaigned for Zanu PF which always pamper their “unnecessary” demands said their allowances should be at par with civil servants or even exceed.
Addressing the chiefs annual conference which started on Monday ending today National chief’s president Fortune Charumbira said chiefs have roles that cuts across several ministries therefore there should be given a larger chunk compared to civil servants who have specialised roles.
“Ministry of social welfare we play a critical role through assisting with food during hunger times, Ministry of Justice as chiefs we actually handle more cases compared to magistrates courts.
“So due to the nature of our duties we need government to fully appreciate us by giving us perks same as those of civil servants. If it buys expensive cars for ministry officials it should do the same for us,” he said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa who addressed the chiefs yesterday ordered them to come up with realistic demands saying there should never compare themselves with civil servants as both contributes to the development of the country in different ways.
“Your packages are different from those of civil servants because you are part of the governance structure. So you will find out even if a pastor preaches how good, they will not be given cars by government. But you will get them because it is your entitlement. Your welfare is clearly spelt out in the Constitution,” he said.
He, however vowed to meet some of their demands saying soon there will be exmpted from land tax. The President also promised more land and livestock for the traditional leaders.
“The Constitution clearly spells out that chiefs are custodians of our culture, values and land. So if they are custodians of land, why should they pay tax for the land that they own? This is something we are going to correct. There are also chiefs who did not get land during the land reform programme,” he said.
“That exercise is past now, but we have land audit going on where we are repossessing land lying idle and cutting to size farms that are more than 500 hectares each. On the other hand, we are repossessing farms from multiple owners. Accordingly, all the chiefs who do not have land will get it from the farms we are taking in the process of the audit.”
Mnangagwa also said chiefs should get first preference on the presidential inputs programme and other government agricultural subsidies.
“Chiefs cannot be made to queue for the inputs. How then will their dignity be preserved? So we are going to take heed of your demands on that issue so that you get first preference,” he said.