Village heads will soon receive funeral and medical assistance from the government, as some could not access medical facilities due to lack of resources.
Chiefs, headmen and village heads earn different salaries and although village heads are given allowances, these do not include funeral and or medical assistance.
This development was announced by Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Marian Chombo in Parliament Wednesday while responding to questions on the welfare of village heads.
“As a Ministry, with our department of traditional leadership, we have measures in place that make sure we assist traditional leaders. However, I would want to point out that the type of assistance that we give we mainly target the chiefs,” she said in response to MP Jonah Nyikadzino who had asked for an explanation but added:
“Village heads are being given allowances and these allowances as of now do not include funeral assistance. We envisage that very soon we should be in a position to assist as regards funeral and medical assistance. Some of our village heads cannot access medical facilities because they do not have the resources.”
The deputy minister explained that traditional leadership had three tiers, which was made up of the chief, selected by the community and appointed by the President.
The second tier is that of the headman, who is appointed by the chief and their name is submitted to the Permanent Secretary in the local government ministry who does the vetting.
“Then the village head is appointed in most of the cases by the headman or the chief and we will just be given the names but we are not the ones who install these village heads. The headman and the village head earn different salaries. We are trying at the moment that the village heads also get good perks, as the headman and the chief,” Chombo said in response to Dorothy Mashonganyika, an MP.
One MP, Goodluck Kwaramba, raised concern that in some areas, especially in resettlement areas, there were village heads who did not receive anything from the government.
In response, the deputy minister noted that there are some village heads in certain areas where chieftainships had not been resuscitated at the end of the liberation struggle so the ministry was still waiting for legislation to come through Parliament so that such chieftainships are revived.
“There are certain disputes regarding boundaries. As a result, some chiefs are illegally installing village heads that are not in the Ministry’s database so that we are able to pay them,” Chombo claimed.
“We are busy trying to make sure that these boundaries are resolved, that legitimate village heads are properly installed in terms of the law and they are in our records. This is a priority issue. Mashonaland West as a province, we will be dealing with it next month.”