MUSANA — Headmen from Musana and Masembura villages in Mashonaland Central province are demanding an increase in their pay-outs saying the money they are getting is too little for their sustenance.
A headman gets US$140 per month as an allowance from government while a village head is given US$20.
Speaking at a mini-gala to celebrate President Robert Mugabe 89th birthday at Musana Business Centre recently, Chief Musana, Nyarumwa Joel Batsirai, said he had informed the President about the plight of headmen under his jurisdiction.
He however, said the headmen must mobilise their people to vote “Yes” during the referendum before the issue of allowances could be addressed.
“I met the President in Masvingo recently and delivered your pleas. But he told me that there were issues of the constitution and the referendum at stake, so he said you should vote ‘Yes’ for the constitution and he will deal with your issue later,” he said.
“We know that you want an increment and the government will look into it.”
A fortnight ago, headmen and village heads in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North demanded cars and decent housing from government saying their current benefits were not commensurate with the amount of work they were expected to do.
However, the MDC formations have accused the traditional leaders for being aligned to Zanu PF and drumming up support for Mugabe during elections.
The government provides cars, houses and over US$300 monthly allowances to chiefs.
Demands by headmen come as traditional chiefs are set to receive new cars under the chiefs’ vehicle revolving fund, which has been largely dormant in the past few years.
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.
There are 227 chiefs countrywide.