By Bulawayo Correspondent
CHIEFS from the Matabeleland region Saturday took President Emmerson Mnangagwa to task and raised concerns over the marginalisation and underdevelopment of the area, Local Government Minister July Moyo has confirmed.
The region covers Matabeleland North, South, and Bulawayo.
Speaking to journalists soon after Mnangagwa’s closed-door meeting with the traditional leaders at the Bulawayo State House, Moyo said the president had acknowledged the chiefs’ grievances and was expected to meet the National Chiefs Council next week and respond to the chiefs’ concerns.
“The chiefs also took advantage of the meeting to raise developmental issues affecting their communities with the president. The president acknowledged the issues,” Moyo told journalists soon after the closed meeting.
“Going forward, His Excellency undertook to meet the National Chiefs Council led by Chief (Fortune) Charumbira next week to frame details on the next steps in moving the matter forward and also to provide comprehensive responses to ancillary issues raised by the chiefs in respect to their areas of jurisdiction,” said Minister Moyo.
The government has been accused of neglecting the Matabeleland provinces since independence. The locals have also been calling for closure to the Gukurahundi atrocities which led to the death of thousands of people in the region after they were massacred by security forces sanctioned by the government in the early 1980s.
Saturday’s meeting was a follow-up after Mnangagwa met the chiefs in June 2019. Moyo could not divulge further details on what was also discussed in the meeting.
However, information ministry secretary Nick Mangwana said the chiefs had presented a report on the contentious Gukurahundi to Mnangagwa.
“President Mnangagwa is meeting with chiefs from Matabeleland who are going to present their report over Gukurahundi issues to him,” he said.