BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
AFRICA’S Forum for traditional leaders, Sultans, Princes and Sheiks has thrown its weight behind outspoken Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni who raised the ire of government and Zanu PF officials after defending a white commercial farmer facing eviction.
“This attack is a serious attack on the institution of traditional leaders, the entire legal order and the constitutional order that taints our institution and its governance. Like any other person, and especially because the occupier is a leader, he or she must not be subjected to harassment, threat or physical attack,” Zié said in a statement on Monday.
The forum is a cultural organisation spearheaded by the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi at a time when he was pushing for the realisation of his dream of a United States of Africa from the bottom to top through traditional leaders.
Angry Zanu PF youths last week attempted to seize Ndiweni’s government-issued vehicle in apparent reaction to the latter’s resistance of the Parsons/Davies’ family eviction from Chiefs’ Lodge atop Ntabazinduna Mountain, which is under his jurisdiction.
The mountain is a famous historical site that is important in the Ndebele culture, which Ndiweni and College of Amakhosi — the highest traditional court in Matabeleland — consider sacred.
“We will not tolerate or accept physical threats, attacks and intimidation from traditional leaders, anywhere and by anyone.
“I, Tchiffi Zié, in my capacity as secretary-general of the Kings, Sultan, Princes and Traditional Leaders Forum, I denounce with the utmost energy, such behaviour, which is seriously prejudicial to our function as traditional leaders, because we are the guarantors of the memory of our continent,” Zié added.
Ndiweni — who received support from a cross section of local organisations and individuals as well as opposition parties after sustained attacks by the State — also angered the government after he called for more targetted sanctions against government and Zanu PF officials behind the land grab.
Ndiweni has vowed to forge ahead with the “Save Ntabazinduna Mountain” campaign despite attacks from government and sections of Zanu PF.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo went a gear up calling on Ndiweni to instead join politics and not hide behind his chieftainship.