OUTSPOKEN Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni says he will file a court application today challenging his suspension as the traditional leader of the area at the weekend.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Ndiweni was suspended by the Matabeleland North Chiefs council on grounds that his appointment was not in line with the Traditional Leaders Act since he was not the first born in his family.
He was removed as Ntabazinduna Chief during a Matabeleland North Chiefs’ provincial assembly meeting held in Bulawayo on Saturday.
The Matabeleland North traditional leaders argued that Ndiweni was illegally acting as a substantive Chief in violation of Nguni customs, practices and norms which recognise the eldest son in the family, Joram as the rightful heir to the throne.
“Those who suspended Chief Ndiweni on legitimacy grounds should know that ‘legitimacy’ is a very sensitive term in Zimbabwe. They should have found other reasons; and they should have made due diligence because it will back fire on them because we are approaching the courts on Monday,” Ndiweni’s spokesperson Nothiwani Dlodlo said yesterday.
“If the suspension of Chief Ndiweni is illegal, the reason behind his suspension should be applied to Chief Charumbira since he is also being challenged in court… This suspension is suspicious and will open a can of worms since 80% of the current serving Chiefs are being challenged, for example, Chief Samambwa in Midlands.”
According to the Constitution, “…the appointment, removal and suspension of Chiefs must be done by the President on the recommendation of the provincial assembly of Chiefs through the National Council of Chiefs and the Minister responsible for traditional leaders and in accordance with the traditional practices and traditions of the communities concerned.”
The late Ndebele paramount chieftainship has been a contentious issue since the death of Chief Khayisa Ndiweni in 2010 with Joram insisting that he is the rightful heir since he is the eldest son.
Joram filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court over five years ago seeking to block his brother Nhlanhlayamangwe from being installed as substantive chief.
Nhlanhlayamangwe’s installation has been postponed several times despite the late former President Robert Mugabe confirming that he is the substantive Chief.
In May 2018, he sought Mnangagwa’s intervention, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, Chief Justice Juke Malaba and Shana in the Ntabazinduna chieftainship row.
He accused Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu of throwing spanners in his way, accusing him of lobbying for his brother to be installed as Chief.
Ndiweni is an outspoken government critic, and accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa of rigging his way to victory in the 2018 elections.