Army summons chiefs

HARARE - Army generals have summoned traditional leaders in Masvingo ostensibly to celebrate a shadowy holiday called “Chiefs’ Day.”

Traditional leaders have been decreed to attend the meeting at the army headquarters in Masvingo in a move that has raised eyebrows.

According to reports from Bikita, local chiefs and headmen received a circular from local district administrator Edgar Seenza advising them to attend the meeting scheduled for October 12 at 4 Brigade army headquarters in Masvingo.

A letter from the district administrator’s office dated September 26 reads: “To all chiefs and headmen — invitation to attend traditional leaders’ day at the Officers’ Mess at HQ 4 Brigade. You are expected to attend the meeting.”

Army spokesperson Alphios Makotore said there was nothing sinister about the meeting.

“Yes there is a traditional leaders day, if you do not know about it tough luck,” he said.

“In fact it will not be Masvingo alone.

“The whole country chiefs will be invited to army stations to celebrate this day. I will be there myself,” Makotore said.

A chief from Bikita told the Daily News the invitation had scant details about why they had been called.
“I am not really sure because they are just not saying much.

“We were just told we should be at the Officers’ Mess by 9 O’clock on the 12th of October without fail,” said the chief, requesting to remain anonymous.

While Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo was unreachable for comment yesterday, his deputy Sessel Zvidzai described the action by the army as mischievous.

“It is nothing but mischief there is nothing on the local government calendar that says there shall be a Chief’s Day, even under the Traditional Leaders Act,” Zvidzai said.

“There is nothing like that. It is a clear demonstration by Zanu PF and the army to militarise the chiefs as they have done with all other state institutions.

“It’s a message to the whole world that they have failed to mobilise Zimbabweans politically,” Zvidzai said.

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