By Criswell Chisango
CHUNDU- Some headmen in Chundu in Mashonaland West are bitter over nonpayment of their allowances by the Government for nearly ten years.
Speaking during an interview with Radio VOP at Chitindiva business centre situated about 75 kilometers north-west of Karoi town, their representative said although they have raised the issue with responsible authorities nothing has cropped up.
Hands Chundu headman under Chief Chundu said some of them have since given up on their request to get outstanding allowances from the Government.
‘’I represent 105 headmen covering resettlement farms and communal areas, Nyamakate among other areas within Chief Chundu’s jurisdiction. We are appealing to the Government to assist in paying traditional leaders who have gone for more than ten years without a single cent from their employer. It is unfortunate that the outstanding money is taking long to be released but they are expected to submit reports monthly on developmental projects within their areas of operation’’, said Chundu.
He added that it was embarrassing that they are being paid $25.00 monthly regarded as little; it would make a difference on their livelihood if paid on time.
‘’We approached the district administrator’s offices for explanation over the delays but the answer we get is that the Government has no money although they need reports from them monthly. As for the unpaid headmen they still need those peanuts for their upkeep’’ added Chundu.
Among the worst affected area is Nyamakate a formerly resettlement area established in the early 1980s but is within Chief Chundu. Of late it was under village development committee (Vidco) that has since been disbanded by the Government.
A village head in Nyamakate situated about 50 kilometers north of Karoi added his voice that the Government must be sincere and pay them as it is taking too long.
‘’We hope that when the funds are available they will consider our issue as an urgent matter. If they did not have such a budget why did they recruit us as we are more covering at least 80 households accounting for them whenever Government and Non Government Organizations want information and statistics among other requirements’’ added the headman speaking on condition that he is not named.
Another headman near Vuti expressed concern that the Government is still yet to make a payment plan for them.
‘’We have lost hope of getting anything from the Government but we are volunteering our services. Politically, we must adhere to Zanu PF principles s and defend its interests at all costs. We monitor inputs schemes during elections although we are not being paid’’ added another village head in Kabidza rural speaking on condition that he is not named.
However, there was no immediate response from Hurungwe District administrator Tsana Chirau if there were more headmen affected by nonpayment of salaries in the district.
A source confirmed that there were more headmen affected by unavailability of funds with Ministry of Local Government.
‘’Government has no money and there are too many of these headmen appointed ahead of elections forcing their wage bill to balloon. Unfortunately, that information cannot be accessed by juniors like myself but the reality is that some headmen have gone for nearly ten years without being paid’’, added our source speaking on condition that he is not named.
Zimbabwe Government is under pressure to clean salary wage bill following recruitment of ‘’youths’’ as election presiding officials ahead of 2008 presidential runoff elections where some of them were employed although they are unqualified without required five Ordinary Level passes prompting workers audit.