BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to dethrone chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni has angered his clan who have vowed to stick by their traditional leader.
Mnangagwa on Friday removed the outspoken Ntabazinduna chief from his position after the traditional leader’s chieftaincy was challenged by his brother.
The Ndiweni elders and Inkosi Advisory Council, Ntabazinduna village headmen, faith groups and the Ntabazinduna community yesterday said Ndiweni remained their substantive chief.
“It is only the Ndiweni clan that can enter that kraal and select the bull for their herd and they have done that,” they said in a joint statement.
“No one else can do that, irrespective of their position in society or in the country.
“To make it abundantly clear, the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe cannot enter any chieftaincy clan’s kraal and select the bull for that clan,” they said.
“If a community is adamant about their chieftaincy and their heir apparent, there is not a great deal the Office of the President can do about it if they wanted another candidate.
“The only thing they can do is to introduce corruption.”
The government has been accused of fighting in Ndiweni’s brother Jorum’s corner. Jorum claims he is the rightful heir to Chief Khayisa Ndiweni’s throne because he is the first born son in the family.
Ndiweni, however, told Alpha Media Holdings chairperson Trevor Ncube on the platform In Conversation with Trevor that clan leaders used other criteria in choosing him ahead of his brother.
“It’s not naturally all the time [that] the first born son becomes chief in the chieftainship succession or even in the monarchy succession with the Khumalo clan,” he said.
“It is only one criteria that you are addressing; that the child is born first, the first born son, then follows a test for that son — that son’s character, the conduct, the morality, all those things come into play.”
“So yes, you passed the first criteria of being the first born son, but the remainder of it, do you actually fit that office because you have to govern people.
“You have to be able lead those people, so every single chieftaincy or single royal family has that second part of the criteria…that (Khayisa) precedence goes to two to four generations back.
“There is always this criteria that comes in, that kicks in to say God has given you the grace to be first born, but qualify your character.”
The Ndiweni elders accuse Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, the ruling party, the chief’s brothers Jorum and Douglas of working with the Matabeleland North provincial chiefs council to cause disturbances in the family.
Meanwhile, activists have launched an online fundraising compaign to buy Ndiweni a car after the government indicated that it will seize the vehicle it gave him.
The activists also want to pay the chief allowances, which the government said it was withdrawing.
“We have launched a crowd funding campaign,” Ndiweni’s spokesperson Nothiwani Dlodlo said.
“We want to buy at least four vehicles for him, a Benz, Landcruiser and two escort vehicles.
“We are coordinating the initiative, we are happy the MDC has also taken a stand on this.”
Mnangagwa’s government is accused of trying to silence Ndiweni because he is critical of its policies. The chief is also vocal about the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands.