GOVERNMENT has said that Ntabazinduna traditional leader Chief Nhlanhlayemangwe Ndiweni was dethroned procedurally because he was not the legitimate heir to the throne.

By Nqobani Ndlovu

Ndiweni, through his lawyer Dumisani Dube, last month filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging government’s decision to dethrone him in November last year on allegations that his installation was not done procedurally.

In his court application, Ndiweni cited President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Local Government minister July Moyo, Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira, Chief Shana of Matabeleland North provincial chiefs assembly, Matabeleland North provincial administrator Latiso Dlamini and Umguza district development co-ordinator Tapiwa Zivovoyi as respondents.

He submitted that his removal was unlawful because he was not given a chance to defend himself. Ndiweni’s installation is being challenged by his brother Joram who claims to be heir apparent.

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But in his affidavit, Local Government permanent secretary Zvinechimwe Ruvinga Churu submitted that Ndiweni’s averments were disputable.

Churu said since Ndiweni’s appointment in 2014, Joram and some members of the clan had continued to petition government to remove him on the grounds that he was installed against the agreed Ndiweni customary principles of succession.

“At one time Joram made a court application challenging the appointment of the applicant as Chief Ndiweni under case number HC 1875/14. These petitions are the ones which prompted the ministry to set up investigation teams in 2014 and in 2017 as well as to refer the matter to the Matabeleland North Provincial Assembly of Chiefs for recommendations to the President,” Churu submitted.

“The applicant was lawfully removed from office as Chief Ndiweni. Section 68 of the Constitution was properly followed and the applicant was given the opportunity to be heard and to make representations during the investigations.”

Churu said Ndiweni misrepresented to the investigation teams that Joram was not interested in being a chief because he was living in the United Kingdom and had no intention of coming back to Zimbabwe.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.