Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE wrangle within the Mlotshwa family in Monde outside Victoria Falls is far from over after the family failed to agree on who should succeed Chief Mvutu who died six years ago.
Chief Mvutu, born Nyangayezizwe Mlotshwa died in March 2014 aged 61.
He left behind three daughters, which fuelled the wrangle as the family vowed not to allow the late chief’s eldest daughter Ms Silibaziso Mlotshwa, now aged 24 and married, to take over.
The family nominated the late chief’s brother Mr Sanders Mlotshwa as the successor in December 2014 but Silibaziso challenged that in court arguing that she is the one who should take over from her father.
The family is divided with one faction in support of Mr Mlotshwa saying it is against Ndebele culture for a woman to succeed her father as chief while others back Ms Mlotshwa saying she is being victimised just because she is a woman.
The family convened a meeting on Monday following a High Court order three months ago which nullified nomination of Mr Mlotshwa as a potential successor and ordered the Hwange District Development Coordinator (DDC)’s office to restart the selection process with respect to human rights.
The meeting was chaired by Chief Sikhobokhobo of Nkayi who was leading a three-member delegation that included Chief Nekatambe of Hwange and Chief Tategulu of Tsholotsho on behalf of the Matabeleland North Provincial Chief’s Assembly.
Hwange DDC Mr Simon Muleya, representatives from the Gender Commission and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Silibaziso’s lawyer Mr Thulani Ndlovu of Sansole and Senda Legal
Practitioners, Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini and other stakeholders attended the meeting.
The emotive meeting which started at 10am, was on two occasions adjourned to allow the family to deliberate on its own but to no avail.
After seven hours of deliberation the family failed to agree on who should succeed the late chief between Ms Mlotshwa and her uncle.
Chief Sikhobokhobo and his delegation and all other stakeholders left around 5pm leaving the family to caucus and update the Provincial Chief’s Assembly Tuesday morning through the DDC office.
In an interview after the meeting, Chief Sikhobokhobo said the meeting resolved to allow the family to deliberate and submit a name.
“This is an issue that should be handled by traditional leaders and we were here to give that freedom to the family to select their own person. They failed to agree and they will follow us tomorrow to the DCC office with the name of the person they would have agreed on,” he said.
Earlier during the meeting, Chief Sikhobokhobo said the Provincial Chief’s Assembly’s role was to facilitate the process with the family making its own decision.
“We are not here to help you choose but to listen to what you tell us as a family hence you are the ones who should select and agree on who you chose,” he told the gathering at the late chief’s homestead.
Mlotshwa family spokesperson Mrs Effie Mlotshwa-Sithole said the family would follow the Nguni culture to which its chieftaincy is rooted.
“What’s happening is that we are remaining behind as family to discuss this issue and we should submit a name tomorrow to the DDC office. The issue is not about who is first born or who is who, we are following the succession as it has always happened. Of the five chiefs in our lineage, two were not first-born children but were considered because there are several other qualities that are looked at,” she said.
The family choice Mr Mlotshwa is a son to the late chief’s brother Simon who is also late.
The family said he is eligible to take over because his father was a chief.
Ms Mlotshwa vowed to stand for her right as she refused to bow to the family’s plea for her to step down for her uncle.
The family was supposed to agree on a name for the successor and notify the DDC on Tuesday but had not done so by late yesterday [email protected]