Temba Dube, Deputy News Editor
CONTROVERSIAL Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni has been stripped of his chieftaincy and all Government benefits accruing to him by virtue of the position following a recommendation by Cabinet and the Matabeleland North Provincial Assembly of Chiefs.
In a letter to the provincial assembly of chiefs, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Mr Zvinechimwe Churu, said Ndiweni ceased to be Ntabazinduna Chief on November 30.
“Please be advised that his excellency, the President has, as per your recommendation and in line with the provisions of the section 283 (ii) of the constitutition and subsection 2 (a) (i) of section 3 of the Traditional leaders Act (Chapter 29:17) removed Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni from the office of Chief Ndiweni in Umguza District of Matabeleland North Province, with effect from 30 November 2019,” read the letter.
The secretary directed the office of the Provincial Development Coordinator for Matabeleland North to officially advise the former chief as well as cease the payment of his allowances.
Further, Mr Churu said, the Umguza District Development Coordinator Mr Tapiwa Zivovoyi should ensure that the Government allocated vehicle, all chiefs’ regalia and any other State assets in Ndiweni’s custody is recovered. He can seek the assistance of the police if need be.
Mr Churu said officials should: “Liaise with the Ndiweni clan to select a candidate for appointment as substantive Chief Ndiweni in terms of 283 (i) of the constitution of Zimbabwe and section 3 (2) (1) of the Traditional Leaders Act Chapter 29:17.”
Cabinet in recommending the removal of Ndiweni noted that the Ndiweni Chieftainship follows the primogeniture system of succession whereby the right of succession belongs to first born sons (father to the eldest son).
“Chief Khayisa Ndiweni died in 2010 and culturally, the late Chief’s eldest son, Joram Ndiweni, was supposed to take over the chieftaincy from his father. However, this did not happen as the District Administrator for Umguza District recommended the appointment of Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni, the second born son of the late chief on the auspices that it was the will of the late chief,” read the cabinet recommendation.
Since Nhlanhla’s appointment on June 9, 2014, Cabinet noted, Joram and some members of the Nhlambabaloyi clan had continued to petition Government for his removal as it went against the Ndiweni principles of succession and therefore in contravention of Section 3(2) of the Act.
Although he was duly appointed, Nhlanhla was never sworn in as Chief Ndiweni.
The Minister of local Government and Public Works, Mr July Moyo, referred the dispute to the Matabeleland North Provincial Assembly of chiefs which noted that Nhlanhla’s appointment was against the Ndiweni custom and Joram — who according to the custom was the rightful heir — had indicated he wanted the chieftainship.
The council recommended the removal of Nhlanhla from the helm.
The side of the Ndiweni family that supports Nhlanhla yesterday issued a statement accusing Zanu-PF secretary for administration Dr Obert Mpofu, with the assistance of Douglas Ndiweni, of fronting a political plot to remove Nhlanhla as Chief Ndiweni.
They said they doubted Joram had made the High Court application contesting the chieftainship.
They cast aspersion on Joram’s suitability for the chieftainship.
“Joram Ndiweni is now 75 years old. Whilst there is no age limit for one to become chief, we are concerned because the demands of the Ntabazinduna chiefdom are such that they require a younger chief,” read the letter.
“We have already stated that Joram Ndiweni refused to come and bury his father the late Paramount Chief K Ndiweni. He also refused to have anything to do with the one-year remembrance ceremony and tombstone unveiling. These alone nullify his request to be an heir apparent or chief.”