The deputy president of the chiefs’ council has castigated traditional leaders who are allegedly misappropriating community ownership trust funds sourced from foreign mining companies under Zimbabwe’s controversial black empowerment program.
Chief Mtshana Khumalo of Bubi communal lands said it is disheartening that some chiefs in Zimbabwe are looting funds meant to benefit communities.
He said the ministry of indigenization should tighten accountability procedures in order to block local indigenization boards headed by chiefs from abusing the funds totaling $40 million.
Some chiefs in Shurugwi, Midlands province, currently administering a $2 million community share ownership trust fund, recently awarded themselves sitting allowances of $5,000 each.
Chief Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 these traditional leaders are a national disgrace. “They should always think about the needs of their communities instead of enriching themselves.
Economist Rejoice Ngwenya of the Liberal Market Solutions said such looting is being encouraged by the Zanu PF system of political patronage.
Youth and Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere was not immediately available for comment.
The Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act allows the minister to set up a national and local empowerment board tasked with administering funds sourced from the foreign-owned companies.
The funds are supposed to be used for the construction of roads, clinics, dams, schools and other community infrastructure.
Indications are that these funds are being diverted for personal use by some chiefs, headmen and local villagers linked to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
The two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change in the shaky coalition government have already indicated that the indigenization program is a Zanu PF scheme for disempowering whites associated with Western nations that imposed targeted sanctions against the president and his inner circle.