President Robert Mugabe says despite the erosion of the culture of our people, the country is still proud to have chiefs and other leaders who still retain some genuine aspects and respect of our traditional values.

Addressing chiefs on their annual meeting hosted by Matabeleland North Province in Bulawayo, President Mugabe said we were one yesterday, still one today and will continue to respect the institution of traditional leadership.

“We were groomed from the traditions of the likes of Mbuya Nehanda and Mzilikazi. Our culture is the same whether Shona or Ndebele, we all value our traditional beliefs,” he said.

President Mugabe said the government had to rectify some colonial decisions to strip legitimate chiefs off their throne as this was part of the reasons why liberation fighters went to war.

Cde Mugabe noted that he was shocked to learn that some chiefs have no farms and yet they were supposed to be at the front of land distribution.

“I would want to know what happened. Some chiefs have been accused of being greed by grabbing everywhere. Hatidi izvozvo. We are very sorry that over the years we had stripped you of your dignity, but through local government we are restoring this through the acquisition of vehicles. It’s time that through the Ministry of Lands we sit down and look for farms for the chiefs who do not have farms,” he said.

The President thanked chiefs for supporting the command agriculture programme which has been a success and reiterated that those reengaging whites at farms will have their farms repossessed.

“We fought the whites off land and now they are coming back with equipment partnering some farmers. We say no thus selling out. We are aware that some got farms but have no capacity or are not willing to use them we don’t want that,” said Cde Mugabe.

The President said: “Let’s unite and repeat what we did last year. Let’s continue to produce for surplus so that we can cater for the export market and let’s also think of value addition”.

He said he will consider the chiefs’ request to meet more often and says they might start with twice a year.

“I would like to thank you for coming. We made a commitment and we are going to fulfill such. Ndimi mune nhaka yehunhu hwemunyika munosungirwa kuwana rukudzo rwenhaka,” said the President.