President of the Chiefs Council Chief Fortune Charumbira has said traditional leaders are not politicians, but custodians of land, tradition and culture.
Speaking at the installation of Chief Mangwende in Murehwa, Chief Charumbira said traditional leaders were not interested in politics.
"We are chiefs who are custodians of land and culture. We are not politicians. But we always intervene in political matters when national interests are threatened.
"Our duties are purely non-political," said Chief Charumbira.
He said traditional leaders work with Government in promoting development and that role must not be taken as political.
Chief Charumbira said the role of traditional leaders was historical.
"Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi intervened in the political affairs of this country when people's interests were threatened," said Chief Charumbira.
"If you remember, during the land redistribution programme, chiefs were consulted and were actively involved in the process," he said.
Chief Charumbira commended Government for appreciating and recognising the important role played by chiefs in national affairs. "As chiefs, we appreciate the recognition we get from the Government. Some people were blaming the Government when it bought cars for us, but they forget the role which we play," he said.
In remarks read on his behalf by Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister David Musabayana, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo urged Chief Mangwende to support Government programmes.
"Chiefs have a role to play in community and national development. It is important for chiefs to work with district councils and the Government in promoting and implementing developmental programmes in their communities," he said.
"I urge you to take a very keen interest in the development of your community as you work hand in hand with the Murewa District Council," said Minister Moyo.
He pledged Government would continue to attend to the welfare of traditional leaders.
Born Taaziva Margan Gatsi in 1942, Chief Mangwende becomes the 17th substantive chief of the Mangwende chieftaincy, with close to 200 000 people under him.