Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Bureaucratic bungling at the weekend resulted in several traditional leaders attending a two-day Chiefs council meeting in the capital being stranded at a local hotel after they failed to get fuel to return to their respective homes.
The traditional leaders were also told to check out to pave way for new guests after their stay had expired. This saw some milling around the hotel while officials from the Ministry of Rural Development and Preservation of Culture and Heritage who were supposed to assist them were not available.
Most of them had to rely on their relatives in the capital and other colleagues after they failed to get assistance from their parent Ministry, whose officials were not reachable.
Sources close to the development said trouble for the traditional leaders started last Friday when their efforts to get fuel coupons to return home hit a brick wall. The situation was made worse by the absence of director of Traditional leadership support service, Mr Felix Chikovo, who despite attending the meetings had to excuse himself to rush to a funeral in Masvingo.
Chiefs council president Fortune Charumbira confirmed the embarrassing incident yesterday.
“Yes, it is true that some of our members were stranded because they failed to get resources like fuel to go back to their respective homes. We had to assist some of them from our pockets because the situation was becoming embarrassing. We tried to call officials from our Ministry, but their phones were either unreachable or went unanswered, we do not really know what was happening,” said Chief Charumbira.
He said initially the chiefs council had been assured by officials that the situation was under control, but it turned bad on Saturday morning when hotel staff advised them to check out to make way for new guests.
“You really cannot blame the hotel staff for that. The situation was bad. Some of them had to go to their relatives while we managed to help others from our pockets,” he said.