Leonard Ncube Victoria Falls Reporter
Chief Ndiweni should be removed from his post, recommends the Matabeleland North chiefs’ provincial assembly, since his elder brother, Mr Joram Ndiweni, who is based in the UK is still contesting the chieftaincy.
In Ndebele custom, chieftainships normally pass from father to the eldest son.
Chief Mtshane Khumalo of Bubi, who is Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs’ deputy president, said the provincial assembly only got to know that the battle was raging on recently and were shocked that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works had not told them.
Chiefs from the province convened in Bulawayo on Saturday and recommended that Chief Ndiweni be removed from the position pending finalisation of the dispute.
This followed a directive from the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs that the provincial assembly should address the issue, said Chief Mtshane.
“The issue was discussed because of the challenge by the elder brother who is saying he is ready to take over the chieftaincy,” he said.
“When he (Chief Ndiweni) was appointed, we sent a delegation of chiefs to the family and they gave us Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Kayisa’s name.
“No one mentioned the issue of the court challenge by the elder brother until recently when we were given the documents from the ministry that prompted us to meet as the provincial assembly.”
Chief Mtshane said the provincial assembly, chaired by Chief Shana of Jambezi, used its powers and recommended the national chiefs’ council to rescind the appointment.
“As traditional leaders, we resolved that the matter must go back to the family so they resolve the issue and if they agree or fail to agree, they will then come back to us,” he said.
“The family decides and we only help as the assembly.”
Chief Mtshane said in Ndebele culture, the first born son assumes chieftaincy unless he declines and even then has to justify his refusal to assume office.
Chief Ndiweni, who could not be reached for comment, reportedly approached the Ministry of Local Government recently enquiring why he had not been sworn in since his appointment in 2014.
He is said to have written to the President’s Office noting his displeasure, resulting in the Minister of Local Government being ordered to address the issue.
The minister forwarded the matter to Chief Charumbira who referred it to the provincial assembly, hence the Saturday meeting.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, under whose ministry the traditional leaders fall, referred questions to the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Richard Moyo.
Chief Ndiweni was appointed by former President Robert Mugabe, resulting in his traditional anointment by the family in 2014.
No Government official, and none of Chief Ndiweni’s brothers — Joram, now aged 75, Douglas and Ian — attended the ceremony which was presided over by some family members and members of the community.
Chief Ndiweni had not been sworn in as the case is pending at the High Court.