TRADITIONAL chiefs are set to receive new cars under the chiefs’ vehicle revolving fund, which has been largely dormant in the past few years
REPORT BY NQABA MATSHAZI
Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo announced the scheme in the latest Government Gazette saying it would be backdated to September 2004.
According to the regulations, each chief will pay back the full cost of the vehicle they would have been allocated.
The minister will determine the interest.
Critics have often accused Zanu PF of using trinkets to buy the loyalty of chiefs, but the government insists there is nothing untoward about the scheme.
They have also questioned the timing of the vehicle offer considering that elections are supposed to be held later this year.
But Chiefs’ council leader, Fortune Charumbira said there was nothing new about the scheme. He also said that all chiefs had paid the government back for the vehicles they had received in the past.
“It is the same as the parliamentary vehicle loan scheme. we have always been paying back,” he said. “I can assure you, no chief owes the government anything for those cars.”
Charumbira said chiefs were supposed to receive cars every five years and paying back over a corresponding period.
“We received poor quality Mazdas which cannot last five years in rural areas. as I speak, most of those cars broke down in less than three years,” he said.
He added that it was actually the government that owed chiefs, not the other way round.
Charumbira said since the setting up of the inclusive government, chiefs had not received cars, meaning that traditional leaders who received vehicles in 2004 were yet to receive replacements.
He said about 180 of the 227 chiefs countrywide were yet to receive cars.
“As you can see, that is a serious backlog,” he said.