By Staff Reporter
THE MDC-T Friday slammed the Zanu PF led government for its decision to splurge millions of scarce public funds while buying vehicles for traditional chiefs, comments that were dismissed as being disrespectful of community leaders by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
This follows announcements by Kasukuwere during a Chiefs conference in Bulawayo this week that government was buying 226 Isuzu double cab vehicles for chiefs as a way of improving their welfare.
The MDC-T was quick to raise the red flag over a possible vote buying gimmick by Zanu PF at a time the 2018 election campaign season gathers momentum.
Party spokesperson Obert Gutu said the MDC-T respected the role played by traditional chiefs but was also concerned about the timing to pamper the influencial community leaders.
“It, thus, cannot escape scrutiny that there is a sinister and ulterior motive behind the Zanu PF regime’s decision to buy motor vehicles for chiefs at this juncture,” Gutu said in a statement.
“At a time when the public health delivery system has virtually collapsed and when most of the country’s district hospitals do not even have an ambulance, one can easily conclude that the decision to buy these motor vehicles for the chiefs is nothing but a blatant vote–buying exercise by the desperate, crumbling and bankrupt Zanu PF regime.
Gutu said Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira had also let the cat out of the bag when he told fellow chiefs to campaign for Zanu PF because they had been bought cras.
“Chiefs shouldn’t be reduced to become Zanu PF political commissars whose loyalty and support is bought by the purchase of cars and other perks,” Gutu said.
“The Zanu PF regime has just shown that they do not have any genuine respect for the institution of chieftainship.
“If anything, the Zanu PF regime is trivializing and trashing the role of chiefs in much the same way as the racist colonial regimes of yesteryear used to do.
“The MDC advocates for a policy that genuinely respects and upholds the institution of chieftainship.”
Speaking while addressing the Chiefs conference in Bulawayo Friday, Kasukuwere hit back at critics saying it was ridiculous for opposition parties to go against Government’s efforts to improve the welfare of local chiefs.
“Some of the opposition parties have been making a lot of noise over the procurement of vehicles for chiefs. Yesterday, the MDC-T was querying the Government’s decision to purchase vehicles for chiefs. Yet he (Gutu) is an MP who also received a vehicle from Government.
“He questions why Government bought vehicles for chiefs. That’s where you realise the level of thinking of some of the people in the country. How can one be angry over Government’s decision to buy cars for chiefs?” Kasukuwere said.