RIOT police yesterday blocked the coronation of self-proclaimed Ndebele King, Stanley Raphael Khumalo, which was scheduled for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Hall in Bulawayo, but did not give reasons.
BY NIZBERT MOYO/ NQOBANI NDLOVU
Khumalo recently declared himself as the new Ndebele King and unveiled a new Mthwakazi flag before announcing September 12 as the day of his coronation.
Over 500 people, mostly clad in traditional regalia, turned up at the ZITF Hall to attend Khumalo’s coronation, but found riot police having barricaded the venue.
Attempts to negotiate with the police to allow the ceremony to go ahead failed and Khumalo’s spokesperson, Greater Sibanda, said they had no option, but to postpone the event to a later date.
Khumalo’s secretary-general, Bhekuvuyo Mguni, said they had given due notice to the police and were cleared to hold the event.
He said they produced their clearance letter dated September 6 to the police, but to their surprise police blocked them access into the venue of the coronation.
“We came here in numbers, with visitors from outside the country such as Botswana, South Africa, etc, to witness the coronation of our King Mzilikazi II, but the police also came in full anti-riot gear and fired teargas to block us from going ahead with our ceremony. We don’t know why they were doing this to us, but they realised that they were making a mistake and stopped it,” Mguni said.
He said the king came and addressed his people and they dispersed.
He said they took away with them one of their members, Welcome Ngwenya.
Mguni said another setback was that they were also locked out of the ZITF Hall by the authorities.
“We booked the hall at ZITF and we have receipts, but we are surprised that we have been locked out. We will take the issue up with the courts. We want to find out why they have breached the contract,” Mguni said.
Mguni vowed to continue fighting in order to make sure the coronation ceremony takes place because they want to revive the Ndebele kingdom and culture, which he described as very important. He said the King Mzilikazi II (Khumalo) would engage President Robert Mugabe over the issue.
Mguni said Khumalo was the only one who had shown that he was capable of leading the people compared to others, who were handpicked or have been there, but had not come out to show their capabilities.
Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage minister Abednigo Ncube was quoted in the State media recently castigating the coronation as treasonous.
But Sibanda blasted the authorities over the stance, saying: “We are not criminals, but people who just wanted to pursue our traditional rights of installing their king. We then went to the central police and tried to engage them, but they said we could not go ahead with our programme. The meeting was called off, but we are going to sit down and map the way forward. We are not giving up as yet.”
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said she was not aware whether the gathering had been cleared or not.
Last week, police arrested Khumalo at his home in Paddonhurst and detained him at Bulawayo Central Police Station as they confiscated several documents linked to his Mthwakazi restoration agenda.
Khumalo’s actions to declare himself the Ndebele king have divided opinion in Matabeleland, with secessionists supporting him, while the Khumalo clan has dismissed him as an impostor.
The Khumalo clan has said there is an agreed successor whom they would “unveil at the right time”.
Lobengula was the last king after the British Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes destroyed the Ndebele Kingdom in 1893.