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Ndebele King installation case drags on

Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu
Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu

Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu recently told Southern News that as a minister in charge of culture and heritage, he would not tolerate people who jump the gun when the Constitution is clear about the issue of traditional leaders.

Mpofu also pointed out that the idea of installing the King was being supported by very few traditional leaders in the Matabeleland region.

“There are very few chiefs supporting the idea. It’s some traditional leaders, not most of them. In fact, in the whole Matabeleland North, there is no chief who supports the idea. I have a list of those who support the idea,” Mpofu said.

Early this year, the High court dismissed the urgent application by lawyer Dumisani Dube on behalf of South Africa-based self-imposed Ndebele crown prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo, ruling that it was illegal to install a king under the Zimbabwe Constitution.

However, the chief executive officer of the Royal Crown Trust (Crown Council) Effie Ncube told Southern News this week that the minister was offside on his assertions as they were not going to give up.

“We are not at all changing our position that the Constitution does not prohibit any people establishing an office of a traditional leader of their choice as an expression of their cultural beliefs,” Ncube said.

“On the contrary, the Constitution recognises the diversity of cultural beliefs. Yes, such beliefs may be politically inconvenient to some, but they are not illegal in anyway.”

Ncube added: “A Ndebele chief who opposes the installation of a King would be opposed to the Ndebele culture he has a constitutional obligation to protect. I can state without fear of contradiction that the minister cannot cite a single chief of good standing who will oppose his people’s choice.”

Asked if ever they were making any engagements with government over the issue, Ncube said everything was taking shape.

“I wish to take this opportunity to assure our people that their King is going to take office very soon.

“A lot is being done to clear the hurdles. The choice of who will be King has not changed as no one except the people can do that,” he said.

With regards to disagreements over who is supposed to be the real Ndebele King, Ncube said that was a sign of democracy.

“Disagreements on who should be King are healthy and democratic. We are happy that the 0,1 percent who disagrees with the people’s choice, that … Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo, have conducted themselves with respect and dignity.”

After the court blocked Bulelani’s coronation, lawyer Dube took aim at the courts which he accused of missing the point as its findings were “improper.”

“In my view the court’s finding was improper because there is nowhere in our statute that is Traditional leaders Act and the Constitution of Zimbabwe which prohibits the installation of a king by the chiefs who are empowered by both the Traditional leaders Act to revive customs, culture and heritage of Ndebele people, a position supported by the Constitution on the role and duties of Chiefs in sections 281 and 282,” he said.

“More so, sections 63 on the rights to culture is clear and as such there is nothing unconstitutional by the act of coronating a king by the chiefs who are the custodians of our traditional practices, customs, heritage and culture,” he said.  DailyNews