President Emmerson Mnangagwa today held a meeting with traditional chiefs in Gweru where he distributed 52 vehicles to some of them.
There are 280 chiefs in Zimbabwe and Cde Mnangagwa had to give the first batch of cars to six chiefs in each of the eight provinces, while the remaining four cars were specifically given to female chiefs, namely: Chief Mathe, one Nonhlanhla Sibanda, Chief Chimhanda and Chief Chimukoko.
The President assured all other chiefs that they will get their cars before this year’s harmonised elections.
“There are 52 cars here today. 26 more will arrive next week and so on. All of you will get their cars before elections but today we will distribute 48 cars, six cars per province,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
He said he saw it prudent to call for such a meeting to brief the traditional leaders about the new political developments in the country.
“I am the one who invited you to this conference. I know that it was supposed to be me visiting each one of you but I realised that you are 280 and if I had to meet one of you every week, it would take me three years to complete. I know that you might be aware of what has happened to our country but I felt it was proper for me to officially brief you on the situation. Yes I am now the new President of Zimbabwe after former President [Robert] Mugabe resigned on 21 November 2017, paving way for my swearing in on 24 November,” he said.
Responding to the chiefs’ concerns, President Mnangagwa pledged commitment to ensuring that a number of issues are fulfilled.
He said he hopes that things will get back to normal in the country’s economy through such programmes as command agriculture, command fisheries, and value addition of natural resources.
“It is no longer time to moan about sanctions. We can develop our country with what we have. We must utilise its land and other resources, and value-add them for economic development,” he said, adding that the government intends to put 120000 hectares of land under irrigation countrywide each year to ensure food security in the country.
The President also spoke of the need for reconciliation, peace and unity as the country prepares for general elections this year.
“There won’t be progress if communities are in conflict. It is not the aspiration of the new order to see conflicts amongst us. If united we will progress and go far,” he said.
He said his government believes in dialogue between different sectors to find solutions to problems affecting different economic segments such as manufacturing, among others, for the country’s development.
“Dialogue is important across the body so that everyone partakes in developing the country,” he said.
After meeting chiefs, President Mnangagwa said he will also engage churches, captains of industry, war veterans, and then the youth (students).
On visits to other countries, the President said he has been to South Africa and Angola and will be in Namibia on Monday, in Mozambique on Wednesday, in Zambia on Thursday and in Botswana on Friday.
At the end of the meeting, chiefs presented gifts they had prepared for the President.
Among the gifts to President Mnangagwa from chiefs were 8 heifers and 8 bulls (a heifer and a bull from each province), while Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi each received 6 heifers and two bulls.