The 56-year-old Katerere chieftaincy wrangle has taken a new twist, with the family pressuring the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to give them the go-ahead to select a new chief.
According to the family, the caretaker chief, installed in 1993, has been failing to preside over several rites in the area because they were “beyond his reach”.
Chinake Mutseta, who is earmarked for the throne, told NewsDay last week that he had approached the deputy director in the Department of Traditional Leaders and was granted permission to go ahead with rites to choose a new leader.
He accused the district administrator, Irene Boozai, of acting as a pseudo-chief, giving out instructions to village heads and headmen, while firing those that do not agree with her.
Boozai last week said she was not aware of the goings-on in the matter and referred NewsDay to the Manicaland provincial administrator, Fungai Mbetsa, who could not be reached for comment.
Mutseta said the new chief of the clan, also known as VaHwesa, would be selected through traditional ceremonies that were expected to take days.
“VaHwesa will have cultural procedures starting on February 20. We engaged the deputy director in the Department of Traditional Leaders, George Madzimure, about the issue and explained to him all that is happening in the area, for example, failure to exhume and rebury liberation fighters lying in mass graves dotted around the area and he understood,” Mutseta said.
“He acknowledged that it needed to be done and told us people from the department would come to the ceremonies, once they were allocated funds for the logistics. The rituals that will be conducted by spirit mediums will culminate in the selection of a new chief to replace the caretaker, who was installed clandestinely.”
Madzimure said the clans were responsible for selecting their own traditional leaders.
“When a chief is installed, we are led by the clan. We told the family to go and deal with the provincial and district administrators,” he said, referring further questions to Mbetsa.
Mutseta accused certain government officials of sending wrong messages to President Robert Mugabe regarding the chieftaincy.
He disputed the family tree that was at the National Archives, saying it was compiled by people with limited knowledge of the history of the family.
“We have officials in this government saying one thing today and doing another tomorrow. They are busy perpetuating corruption and currently, we have taxes that are paid to chiefs and handed over to Ministry of Local Government being embezzled because of several irregularities. This has cost the community development,” he said.
“We are starting afresh on the chief, headmen and village heads. We also need to deal with our boundaries from Nyarerwa River bordering with Mutasa, Nyan’ombe bordering with Mutoko and Kaerezi on the border with Mozambique.”