CIVIC Society Organisations (CSOs) and political parties have sternly condemned the bombing and desecration of the sacred Njelele rainmaking shrine, a traditional and cultural heritage site, in Matobo, two weeks ago.
BY SILAS NKALA
The suspects, who used mining explosives, to destroy traditional pots and artefacts stored in the sacred place, are still at large and the CSOs and political parties have ganged up and called on the police to speedily investigate and arrest the culprits.
#ThisConstitution leader, Abigail Mupambi said the act was worrisome and posed a direct threat to people’s local and national traditional and cultural heritage.
“I just hope this is not one way by some hidden hand to try and stage a security threat ahead of the polls, considering that we recently witnessed other explosions at White City in Bulawayo,” Mupambi said.
“The culprits should be dealt with without delay. The culture of explosives and explosions is not healthy for any community at given point and time, worse off at these critical times.”
The Njelele shrine; situated at Matobo in Kezi, Matabeleland South province, has been used since time immemorial for rainmaking ceremonies as well as healing of various ailments affecting local communities.
This is the second time that it has been attacked after the Fifth Brigade soldiers during Gukurahundi in the 1980s reportedly fired shots at the shrine; an incident which locals claimed triggered a series of droughts in the region.
Shalom Project Trust director, Anglistone Sibanda said there was “a bunch of extremists” who were bent on causing a civil war in Zimbabwe by fuelling tribal tensions.
“These primitive elements are moved by hatred for peace and tribal imperialism where Njelele is an epitome of culture and historical significance and bombing it is a sign of tribal subjugation,” Sibanda said.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary general, Mbuso Fuzwayo also condemned the act, describing it as a deliberate way of inflicting pain on the people of Matabeleland.
Streetwise Informal Traders’ Association director, Percy Mcijo weighed in, saying: “We all hope that the long arm of the law will not miss the perpetrators for too long, explain their motive which I believe is ill-conceived.”
Opposition political parties urged law enforcement agents to speed up investigations and bring the perpetrators to book.
MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Felix Magalela Sibanda said as a party, they were pro-people’s culture, and condemned the attack.
“Tradition, religion, food, dance and constitutional rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe must be respected,” he said.
“This has been a sacred shrine since time immemorial as a people’s party we are not amused by these invasions by foreigners.”
Mthwakazi Liberation Front spokesperson Ndabezinhle Fuyane said they will be happy if the law took its course and offenders were apprehended.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said the culprits debased the people’s culture through the barbaric act.