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Zimbabwe Chiefs Want to Join JOMIC

Traditional chiefs in Zimbabwe say the three political parties in the inclusive government should allow them to be part of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) in order to boost the activities of the committee.

They said JOMIC, tasked with overseeing the operations of the coalition government, will continue facing problems in its quest to bring peace in communities unless it brings them on board as they are closely connected to the people.

But some critics said JOMIC is not in a position to fully tackle some of the political challenges even if it grants powers to chiefs as most of them are accused of being Zanu PF sympathizers.

The critics said some of the chiefs are suspected to have been involved in perpetrating violent activities in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.

JOMIC chairman for September, Elton Mangoma of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was not available for comment . But sources confirmed that the chiefs want to be part of the committee.

Chief Edson Chihota said they would use their traditional powers to deal with perpetrators of violence in the same way they settle domestic disputes.

"We live with the people and as a result we are convinced that we can have a very crucial role to play in JOMIC," said Chief Chihota.

Most Zimbabweans believe that chiefs are supposed to be apolitical.