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Mnangagwa drawn into tribal storm

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been taken to task for allegedly stoking tribal tensions in Chiredzi by “imposing” a Karanga to be chief of Shangani people in the district.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Hlaisi Mundau, who is Chief Tshovani, has also dragged the government to the High Court contesting a decision to install Clement Madzingo as Chief Neromwe in his area of jurisdiction.

Tshovani argues that Madzingo’s appointment should be frozen pending his court application under HC 2964/17 in which he is challenging the resuscitation of the Neromwe chieftainship.

He said he was not consulted over the matter despite the fact that the area for the proposed chieftainship fell under his jurisdiction.

In a letter addressed to Mnangagwa dated May 8, 2019, Mundau accused the president of imposing Chief Neromwe in his area where there are Shangani people.

“My writing to you is anchored by your acknowledgement of Clement Madzingo as Chief Neromwe whereby you, as president of Zimbabwe, signed his papers for him to be a substantive chief, imposing him on my land,” Tshovani’s letter reads in part.

Tshovani’s lawyers Webb, Low and Barry legal practitioners sent the letter to the president on the traditional leader’s instruction.

“The imposition of non-existent chiefs was done by colonialists. Not even former president (Robert) Mugabe during his 37 years of power did that,” he wrote.

“When such matters of resuscitating old chieftainships arose, President Mugabe would widely consult all parties concerned, but your new dispensation is imposing without any consultation.

“The issue, if you fail to handle it, has serious tribal connotations since I am a Shangani chief, and the imposed Chief Neromwe in my area of jurisdiction is Karanga.”

The letter is copied to Mnangagwa’s two deputies Kembo Mohadi and Constantino Chiwenga, Attorney-General Prince Machaya, Chief Justice Luke Malaba and Local Government minister July Moyo.

“This appeal is made on my behalf as Chief Tshovani and indeed on behalf of my Milo clan, the Shangani people and my concerned subjects under my jurisdiction. My argument is also anchored by an attached affidavit from the vice- president of the national Chiefs’ Council.

“I am saying Chief Neromwe is a non-existent office because he has no land in the area that he wants to be imposed on; that land is within my government-gazetted boundary since time immemorial,” the letter adds.

An affidavit attached to the letter by Chiefs’ Council deputy president Mtshane Khumalo, also supports Chief Tshovani’s claims that Neromwe was imposed on the Shangani people.

The appointment of chiefs is governed by section 283 of the constitution. Khumalo said the council was not consulted before the new chief was appointed. The Standard