BULAWAYO police have barred self-imposed Ndebele king, Stanley Raphael Khumalo, from holding an enrobing ceremony – a cultural event where a king’s heir is officially presented with the royal regalia and other artefacts.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Police, in a letter to the organisers, said the event could not be sanctioned as it was likely to give the green light to other opposition political parties planning anti-government protests.
“There are political parties who are threatening to demonstrate against the government who might hijack the function for their own political mileage. The cholera epidemic has not completely left us, and it will be calamitous to hold an event of such magnitude with (10 000) people,” Superintendent Matongo wrote in a letter dated November 23 to organisers of the event.
Matongo also said the Constitution did not recognise a ‘king.’
“The function/event is illegal since a king is not covered in the Constitution of Zimbabwe or in the Traditional Leaders Act. There are other rivalry groups also claiming the same kingship who might try to disturb the event,” he said.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango refused to comment on the issue yesterday.
However, Greater Sibanda, the Ndebele king’s spokesperson, condemned the cancellation of the event as regrettable.
“We will keep engaging the authorities, because we believe cancelling the event is regrettable since it has nothing to do with politics, but culture and tradition,” Sibanda said yesterday.
Raphael Khumalo self-declared himself Ndebele king in 2017. Lobengula was the last king after a British Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes destroyed the Ndebele Kingdom in 1983.
Khumalo’s actions have divided opinion in Matabeleland, with some secessionists supporting him while descendants of the Lobengula family have dismissed him as an impostor.
Government stopped plans to coronate South Africa-based Bulelani Collin Khumalo as King Lobengula’s heir, also arguing the ceremony was not only illegal, but also unconstitutional.
The ban was upheld by High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese following an urgent court application by the crown council that planned Bulelani’s coronation.