via Chiefs now powerless says Zimunya – The Zimbabwean 17 July 2015
Politicians have eroded the role of traditional leaders by manipulating chiefs in order to advance their political agendas, says Chief Zimunya.
“It’s very sad that the roles of chief have been undermined (by Zanu (PF)). We no longer have control or respect in our own areas, we have been stripped of our authority. We are powerless – what is left is just the title,” he told the recent Provincial Mining Indaba organised by the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela).
“Such is the fate of chiefs in the country today. We are no longer of any value. But what is funny is that when they (government) want to use us, that is when they appear to lend us authority to use us to advance their political ambitions,” he lamented.
Chief Zimunya singled out the abuse of chiefs by government in the establishment of the controversial Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (COST). He said though chiefs were bank account signatories and chaired the trust, they had no say in how the trust should operate and no power to coerce the miners to fulfil their pledge.
The Marange-Zimunya trust is said to be worth $50 million. Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Investment, Jinan Mining, Diamond Mining Company and Marange Resources are said to have pledged to disburse $10 million each into the trust coffers. But they all profess ignorance over the pledges.
Recently, former Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere was summoned to give oral evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment – but he avoided questions on the functionality of the controversial trust.
“We have no say over resources in our own communities, so tell me what is our role as chiefs?” Chief Zimunya questioned.
Chiefs have been reduced to mere pawns and lapdogs to Zanu (PF) political gimmicks. Instead of playing an oversight role governing their respective chiefdoms, they have been reduced to powerless partisan title-holders advancing Zanu (PF)’s stronghold on power.
This has been exacerbated by the Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira who has on numerous public gatherings boldly declared that chiefs are loyal to Zanu (PF).