The Khumalo royal family on Saturday censured Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo for speaking ill about Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa and Zanu PF provincial member John Robert Khumalo at a public ceremony in Jotsholo last month.
Addressing guests during the installation of Chief Mabhika last month, Chombo accused Dabengwa of building his political career by borrowing heavily from the late former Zapu leader and Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s popularity.
Chombo said: “I see we have the former Home Affairs minister Dabengwa here from his Zapu party. The problem is that Dabengwa took the name of (Joshua) Nkomo’s party. He should have come up with his own name. We will meet in the elections and see the outcome. So Dumiso we will meet at work.”
But speaking at the installation of Mandlakazulu Khumalo as Chief Mathuphula in Tsholotsho over the weekend, King Lobengula’s descendant Prince Zwide kaLanga Khumalo said Dabengwa deserved to be respected as he was the family’s son-in-law.
“Some people might think he comes here for those other reasons, but he comes here as a son-in-law of the Khumalos,” he said.
Dabengwa added: “Not only son-in-law, but eldest son–in-law!”
The former Home Affairs minister is married to Zodwa Khumalo.
In separate interviews, the Khumalo family members expressed anger at Chombo’s attack on Dabengwa.
“We were shocked to hear Chombo attacking Dabengwa the way he did in Jotsholo. Dabengwa is a son-in-law to the Khumalos,” said a family member who declined to be named.
“We were all shocked at why he had chosen to take a traditional ceremony to preach politics and settle political scores with Dabengwa.
“In our culture, sons-in-law should be treated with respect and what Chombo did is not acceptable.
“We were also shocked to hear him openly attack John Robert Khumalo for trying to wrestle the chieftainship that caused delays in the installation of a substantive chief. Robert is a member of the Khumalo family and the clashes were an internal family matter. There was no need to attack him in front of all those people including Robert’s children.”