Dispute erupts over Mathe chieftainship

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BY IRENE MOYO
A CHIEFTAINSHIP dispute has erupted in Matobo/Umzingwane, Matabeleland South where some clan members are challenging the installation of the new chief Nkululeko Ngqabutho Mathe (51).

There are indications that the Local Government, Rural and Urban Development ministry is set to officially install Ngqabutho Mathe, the late chief’s son.

Norman Silobi from the Silobi clan, however, claims the Mathe clan usurped the chieftainship which belonged to the Silobi clan when Mzilikazi arrived in the Matabeleland region in 1790.

“The chieftainship belongs to our clan. When our great grandfather, who was a chief, died the family had disputes as to who would take over. The disputes took long to be resolved to an extent that elders set down and agreed to temporarily put on a different clan, which is a Ndiweni. The position was to be given back once the family had resolved the matter,” Silobi said.

According to Silobi, years passed, Ndiweni died and another conflict arose from the Silobi clan and the elders again sat down to discuss who would take over the
chieftainship.

“The elders went on to elect the Mathe clan from Nkayi to diffuse the tension. The Mathe family took over from thereon up to the present moment,” Silobi said.

He added that the Silobi clan has been trying to reclaim the chieftainship as per the advice of their grandfathers.

“I have tried since 2012 to approach offices and convince them about this matter, but our chieftainship files disappeared without explanation from the district
offices.”

“The uMzingwane district administrator went on to introduce the new chief without consulting the Mathe family and the community. We want people to know the truth,” he added.

Ngqbutho Mathe confirmed that some people have challenged his chieftainship.

“There was a time when we went to Mhlahlandlela and were told to produce a file. Some came to challenge us, but they did not have evidence to substantiate their eligibility,” Mathe said.

Although the chieftainancy covers parts of Matobo and Umzingwane district, its administration is under uMzingwane district.

UMzingwane district administrator Siphathisiwe Mlotshwa could not be reached for comment.

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