THE government is phasing out chiefs’ traditional regalia inherited from the colonial era, describing it as outdated and detached from the country’s history.
The Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry, under which traditional chiefs fall, through the Traditional Leaders Act, is seeking designers for the new regalia.
“The Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry is seeking expression of interest from suitable designers, who will be invited to submit proposals to undertake the designing of the chiefs regalia,” reads a notice from the ministry.
“The current regalia was inherited from the colonial regime and was designed to celebrate and venerate their own imperialist values.
“The regalia is outdated and detached from our history, culture and traditions.
“It is, therefore, imperative to customise the chief’s regalia so that it speaks to our history, ethos, values and our aspirations as a people.”
The current regalia for chiefs consists of a gown with purple and red colours, a white helmet, breastplate, name badge and a walking stick.
The Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs has over the year’s pressed for new regalia, with each chieftainship having its own distinct form since they emanate from different ancestors.
They said the new regalia should be decorated with features depicting the Great Zimbabwe Monument because of the site’s historical significance.
There are close to 300 chiefs and if the move sails through, thousands of dollars would be spent buying new uniforms that “embody our aspirations as a people”.
Late last year, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government recommended that traditional chiefs be allocated $35 000 each to procure vehicles of their choice, as their terms of office were much longer than those of legislators.