MARANGE (Pungwe News-New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Company (ZCDC) has handed over two modern chiefs’ courts to traditional leaders in Zimunya and Marange in Manicaland province.
Chief Zimunya`s court was officially handed over last week, while the handover for Chief Marange’s court was held on Friday.
This was in fulfillment of pledges made by the company to improve the lives of the local community and traditional leaders when it took over diamond mining operations in the areas in 2016 after the government withdrew permits from seven firms that were operating in the districts, citing lack of transparency and corruption.
The new state of the art courts will now see traditional leaders moving from presiding over their cases under trees to the new courts with modern facilities.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Marange on Friday, ZCDC board chairman Engineer Killian Ukama said the need for decent courts for chiefs was identified during a community needs assessment exercise.
“Today we mark a historic day where ZCDC hands over this court to chief Marange so that he conducts his duties as required by the constitution of the country in a decent infrastructure which befits his standing in society.
“This community social responsibility project has been on the cards for a long time but I am happy ZCDC has delivered on its promise,” said Eng Ukama.
He added that culture, tradition and customs are an integral part of the country’s civilization, and shape the character of citizens and community.
“They help in striking the balance between nature, conservation of our natural resources such as the diamonds we mine and respect we give to each other,” he said.
Eng Ukama said traditional leaders play an important role in society as the custodian of tradition and cultures of people, adding “traditional leaders are rightful leaders of their own constituencies, which are communities in their areas of jurisdiction”.
He said ZCDC will continue to work with traditional leaders to improve lives of the communities, as stability and development in rural communities can bring about economic opportunities.
“When we live in a group, tribe or society or clan we have to follow some set of rules, principles, laws which naturally become part of our lives and when they are not adhered to, it is the role of chiefs and traditional leaders to restore law and order to bring stability in the society.
“In order for them to do that they must conduct their business in a decent structure and not in open air as this has an effect of diminishing returns where alleged offenders will not respect the chiefs and tradition leaders,” he said.
Without respecting our chiefs and traditional leaders, culture, tradition and customs will disconnect with our ethos, said Ukama.
“Today we live in a mixed society with different cultures where people within the community commit various crimes, some deliberately while some unknowingly, making life difficult for the community leaders but they have to be brought to book,” he said.
In a speech read on her behalf by assistant Mutare District Development Coordinator (DDC) Cosmas Sigauke, Minister of State and Devolution Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said the community and government relies heavily on traditional leaders because they uphold our culture, norms and traditions.
“Chiefs are the ambassadors of government and we really appreciate this gesture as it allows them to conduct their work in decent structures,” said Gwaradzimba.
She added that the courts were a true testimony that ZCDC does not take local people for granted but has high regard for community development and has respect for culture, tradition and communities in which they operate.
Gwaradzimba re- affirmed government`s commitment to infrastructure development in Manicaland province, saying “this is the beginning of new things to come”.
She urged ZCDC to involve communities when identifying their needs.
“Never impose projects to communities. Engage them and agree on certain projects. We also expect empowerment and enterprenual projects in health, education, sports and recreation, agriculture. Through irrigation, we want sustainable projects in communities where locals are involved through Share Community Ownership Trusts,” said Gwaradzimba.
She said traditional leaders have knowledge of their community needs, and as such, they should be engaged and consulted extensively before any project is embarked on.
Pungwe News- New Ziana