Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo has hailed the symbiotic relationship between traditional leaders and the army in fostering peace and development within the communities.
In a speech read on his behalf by Chief of Staff General Staff, Major-General David Sigauke during the commemoration of the provincial Traditional Leader's Day at 4 Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Masvingo on Saturday, Lt-Gen Chimonyo said the mutual co-operation between traditional leaders and the army was second to none.
"This continued interaction will go a long way in enhancing the symbiotic relationship that already exists between the ZNA, traditional leaders and their communities dating back to the time of the country's liberation struggle," said Lt-Gen Chimonyo.
He said traditional leaders played a pivotal role in promoting peace and unity in the country.
"Traditional leaders are equally concerned about the security and safety of their people, hence defending the country and its citizens becomes our collective responsibility," he said.
The commander said the ZNA was also recruiting young men and women from different communities and traditional leaders had a crucial role of nurturing them in preparation for national service in the military.
"It should also be understood that the ZNA is a people's force whose operational success heavily depends on the support of the generality of the people of Zimbabwe under the able stewardship of our traditional leaders.
"This kind of fish and water relationship was key, to our success during the liberation struggle and continue to guide us to this day."
He said it was hard to give a good account of the liberation struggle without acknowledging and alluding to the immense contribution made by the traditional leaders at the hands of the brutal colonial regime.
"Some of the traditional leaders demonstrated their bravery and courage by leading from the forefront in the anti-colonial struggle with notable examples being Chief Mashayamombe, Chief Rekayi Tangwena, Chief Chingaira, among others.
"As the Government plans to decentralise economic decision making processes to provinces through the much anticipated devolution, we remain hopeful that our traditional leaders will continue to provide wise counsel and guidance to the provincial councils as the true representatives of the people," he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira hailed the army for commemorating the traditional leaders' day saying the role they played was crucial in fostering development and peace.
Minister Chadzamira also took a swipe at unscrupulous retailers in Masvingo who unjustifiably increased prices of basic commodities and urged them to maintain good business ethics through reverting to normal prices.