CHIEFS in Matabeleland North have alleged that they were being side-lined from developmental projects despite them being custodians of natural resources in communities they lead.
The chiefs said this during a three day training workshop organised by Homelink Finance and the National University of Science and Technology in Victoria Falls on Tuesday.
The workshop is being held under the theme: “Chiefs economic empowerment for sustainable business development in rural communities.”
They said they were not getting support from government for them to start income generating projects for their communities.
They also said they were not being given opportunities just like their colleagues around the country.
“There should be specific and deliberate projects for chiefs so we can be able to demonstrate to our people what development is. It’s better to speak about things we can show than to just tell people that there are projects meant to empower them when we actually have nothing to show,” said Chief Pashu from Binga.
“Government gave us permits for fishing but what help does that bring if we don’t have a rigs?” said Chief Pashu.
Another Chief said financiers who include government were confining their attention to urban areas at the expense of the rural populace who make up the majority of the population.
A majority of people in need of sustainable income generating projects live in rural areas.
The Chiefs called upon Homelink Finance which is seeking to fund some projects in rural areas, to decentralise and open centres in communities.
Chief Khayisa of Ntabazinduna said government support of Chiefs was only on paper yet in actual fact traditional leaders were not empowered we economically.
Chief Mtshana of Bubi said: “There have been concerns that Chiefs are not allowed in development meetings yet they are the ones with the power of land in all local authorities. I think there is a need to align some laws to the Constitution because now Chiefs have no legal standing to exercise their duties.
Government recently bought vehicles for Chiefs.