Traditional leaders from across the country who attended the just ended annual meeting in Bulawayo say it was a fruitful engagement which discussed various issues expected to transform the socio-political landscape of the country.Some critical issues discussed included the need for government to put in place mechanisms to ensure national food security through sustainable irrigation programmes and the need for traditional leaders to spearhead national development programmes.
Chief Ngungumbane of Mberengwa said the discussions in various sessions such as the establishment of the community ownership share trusts were fruitful as the chiefs now fully understand their role in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment agenda.
â€œWe had constructive debate on various issues that affect our areas, such as the role of chiefs in the indigenisation programme and from the discussions held we now know where we stand but generally the conference was good,â€ said Chief Ngungumbane.
Chief Marinye of Great Zimbabwe said government has acknowledged that the traditional leaders play an important role in community development and as they go back to their areas they will implement programmes that compliment government efforts in development.
â€œWe have been assured that government fully supports us in the discharge of our duties as our role was being undermined by most people.
â€œAs we go back to the village we know we have a duty that is known by government and we will discharge it effectively,â€ said Chief Marinye.
Chief Masendu of Plumtree noted that the major worry in the Southern parts of the country is the issue of severe food shortages. He said government should ensure that the grain reaches the affected people.
Chief Masendu said: â€œThe issue of perennial droughts was worrying us but now that government has assured that grain will be moved swiftly to the affected areas we are happy and we will convey the message to our people.â€
The belated 2011 Annual Chiefs Conference held under the theme: â€˜Traditional leaders â€“realigning culture and tradition towards dynamic community development and empowerment,â€™ attracted over 250 traditional leaders from across the country.
The conference was unique in that wives of traditional leaders were also in attendance so that they fully understand the roles of the chiefs.