Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

ED sucked into chiefs’ battle over land

By Jeffrey Muvundusi

Zvishavane traditional leader Chief Mapanzure has been accused of illegally extending his territory into Insiza Chief Jahana’s in a battle that has stoked tribal tensions between the two.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa inspects Russian honour guards during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on January 14, 2019. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)

What has complicated the issue is Mapanzure’s alleged proximity to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a development chief Jahana has dismissed as a non-event, vowing to fight till he regains his land.

Mnangagwa’s rural home is under Mapanzure.

The dispute has reportedly sucked in Lands minister Perrance Shiri and Local Government minister July Moyo, who in November last year were forced to convene a meeting at a local hotel where the issue was discussed at length in the presence of other traditional leaders.

This was after Jahana had petitioned Mnangagwa demanding his intervention on a matter that has fomented acrimony between the two traditional leaders.

Matabeleland Chiefs Council secretary Nothiwani Dlodlo yesterday claimed Mapanzure was encroaching into chief Jahana’s area.

“There is an ongoing dispute between Mapanzure and Jahana over the boundary of their land. Unfortunately, the land belongs to Jahana since it was gazetted by government.

“However, perhaps chief Mapanzure is using his widely-held belief that he is close to the president, hence his unrelenting push for land.

“Mapanzure has already occupied the land where villages with three heads have already been settled,” Dlodlo told Daily News yesterday.

Insiza, which is in Matabeleland South Province, shares borders with Vungu, Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Umzingwane and Gwanda.

Dlodlo, who said he attended the meeting which was chaired by Shiri, said a national sub Joint Operations Command (JOC) taskforce was appointed to probe the matter.

“The team was given five days to report back on their investigations but surprisingly, we never heard anything from them since then,” Dlodlo said.

Contacted for comment, Jahana said he was going to leave no stone unturned in claiming his land back.

“We are currently in Gwanda for a meeting with the officials from the Local Government ministry over the matter. What we understand is that they want to take our land and put it in Midlands Province, but that’s what we are rejecting,” Chief Jahana told the Daily News.

“Information reaching us is that they want to create Chief Mapanzure one and Chief Mapanzure two to accommodate their fellow kinsmen, but we are saying no to that.

“They are using the advantage of their somehow closeness to the president to try and grab my land.

“So, today, if these officials we are meeting fail to properly address this matter, we are definitely going to take this matter up with the president himself.

“This will help us see if he is the one behind it or just people hiding behind his name,” Jahana added.

Mapanzure in response said he could not comment much on the matter since it was a complex and long story.

“It’s a big story that has been going on for a long time, I can’t talk about it because it’s going under certain processes,” he told the Daily News.

Mapanzure, however, dismissed reports that he was taking advantage of his proximity to Mnangagwa to seize the land.

“It’s a long story that started long back when the delimitations were being done and that place that is being talked about belongs to us.

“But for a fact, this matter started way before Mnangagwa became president and it was handled by former Local Government ministers as (Saviour) Kasukuwere and (Ignatius) Chombo.

“It’s only that these people are trying to politicise the matter,” Mapanzure told the Daily News.