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Chiefs turn heat on govt

Chiefs in Matabeleland have vowed to defy a government ban on the coronation of South Africa-based Bulelani Collins Khumalo (pictured right) as Ndebele king revealing that plans are afoot to hold the ceremony in October


Chiefs in Matabeleland have vowed to defy a government ban on the coronation of South Africa-based Bulelani Collins Khumalo (pictured right) as Ndebele king revealing that plans are afoot to hold the ceremony in October.

They accused the Local Government ministry of double standards and tribalism by allowing a similar ceremony in the revival of the Mambo dynasty through the coronation of the Lozwi king recently.

They also cited a Chiredzi incident where the ministry is accused of reviving the Neromwe chieftainship in an area under Hlaisi Mundau, Chief Tshovani of the Shangani people in the district.

The government on July 31 installed Clemence Madzingo as Chief Neromwe.

Chief Tshovani is challenging Neromwe’s installation at the courts, arguing it is an attack on his chieftaincy after losing vast territory to his rival.

Matabeleland traditional leaders said government, by allowing the coronation of the Mambo monarch and Neromwe, had set a precedent through its double standards and, therefore, were going ahead with Khumalo’s coronation.

The Lozwi clan installed Mike Moyo as king of the Mambo dynasty in a bid to revive their kingship.

“Now that the Local Government minister [July Moyo] in his personal capacity and through his ministry came out in full support of the coronation of the Mambo dynasty while last year he used command justice to block coronation of the Ndebele king, this has become his self-tribal trap,” said Matabeleland Chiefs Council secretary Nothiwani Dlodlo.

The government banned Khumalo’s coronation as Ndebele king arguing the ceremony was illegal since the constitution did not recognise a monarch. The ban was upheld by the courts.

“We are having massive preparations for a bigger coronation of King Bulelani as the third monarch of the Ndebele nation,” Dlodlo added.

“It will be very difficult to block it because the minister of Local Government has set precedence through blessing the coronation of Mambo dynasty early this month.”

Moyo’s mobile phone went unanswered when comment was sought.

Last year, prominent Bulawayo cultural activist Zwide kaLanga Khumalo unveiled as King Nyamande Lobengula II during a ceremony held at Bulawayo Amphitheatre. Government did not stop the event.

Lobengula was the last Ndebele King after a British Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes destroyed the Ndebele kingdom in 1893. Advocates of a Ndebele kingship argue the matter does not need a constitutional provision as it is a traditional matter.

Meanwhile, government has threatened Chief Tshovani with arrest for allegedly defying a decision to stop engaging Shangaani subjects previously under his jurisdiction before the revival of the Neromwe chieftaincy in July.

“Following the resuscitation, appointment and installation of the Neromwe chieftainship in the resettlement and allocation of wards 17, 26, 28 and 29 by the State, you are therefore urged to desist from conducting any meetings with the subjects residing in the aforesaid wards as you were verbally advised before,” wrote one C Machakele, the acting district development administrator, in a letter dated September 10 copied to the Joint Operations Command.

“The office wishes to make it clear that the four wards are under Chief Neromwe’s area of jurisdiction and him only should preside as the chief of that community.

“Any further encroachment or trespassing will be tantamount to contravention of legal provisions and the results would be obvious.”

However, Dlodlo in response said the Local Government ministry was offside and creating tribal hotspots.

“The ministry has created a lot of unnecessary regional tribal hotspots which are a serious threat to national security which are the Mambo dynasty, imposition of Chief Mapanzure on Chief Jahana’s area of jurisdiction and imposition of Chief Neromwe in Chief Tshovani’s area of jurisdiction…”

Early this year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was accused of stoking tribal tensions in handling the Chief Neromwe issue amid indications that the latter was a Karanga.