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Minister sucked in Binga chieftainship row

By Mashudu Netsianda

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo has been sucked into the Chief Binga succession wrangle following the death of the incumbent, Mr Gasta Siakulya Muleya, four months ago.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, July Moyo
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, July Moyo

Mr Muleya died in June at Mpilo Central Hospital where he had been admitted after a long illness that had kept him away from public life.

One of the claimants to the throne, Mr Peter Mwembe has since approached the High Court challenging the appointment of the late Muleya as Chief Binga.

Mr Mwembe, through his lawyers Ndove and Associates, filed a court application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order directing Minister Moyo to convene a meeting within 14 days for the selection and approval of a candidate to be appointed Chief Binga.

He also wants an order compelling the Minister to remove the Muleya clan from the Binga Chieftainship.

In papers before the court, the late Chief Binga and Minister Moyo were cited as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Mr Mwembe said the late Muleya was not supposed to be appointed Chief Binga, arguing that the chieftainship belonged to the Sikabuwa lineage. He said Muleya belonged to the Dobola lineage.

“I contend that the first respondent (Muleya) was not supposed to be appointed Chief Binga. The first chief of the Binga Chieftainship was Sikabuwa. From 1900 when the Binga Chieftainship started up to 2000 when the first respondent (Muleya) was appointed chief, his family does not fit anywhere in the chieftainship,” he said.

Mr Mwembe said problems started soon after Muleya took over in 1994 following the death of Chikonkolole.

“When Chikonkolole died in 1994, Patrick Simankolyo was supposed to succeed him, but the first respondent, who is not related to Sikabuwa or Chikonkolole, was illegitimately appointed Chief Binga. The Binga Chieftainship is from the Sikabuwa lineage and the first respondent is from Dobola lineage,” he argued.

Mr Mwembe said before the appointment of the late Muleya as Chief Binga, representations were made to the officials in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing who however, disregarded them.

“In the circumstances, the second respondent (Minister Moyo) should not have made recommendations to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the appointment of the first respondent as Chief Binga,” he said.

Mr Mwembe argued that customary principles of succession were not followed.

“Any other person outside the Sikabuwa lineage cannot be appointed Chief Binga as there are spiritual rain making and other ceremonies which the incumbent chief should perform and the first respondent could not perform them as he was outside the Sikabuwa matriarch lineage,” he said.

Mr Mwembe wants the court to order the Minister to make a recommendation to President Mnangagwa for the removal of Muleya clan from Binga Chieftainship.

“I also seek an order that the conclusions of the meeting shall be recorded and forwarded to the second respondent which conclusions shall form the basis for recommendations to the President for the appointment of the next Chief Binga,” he said.

The respondents are yet to respond to the application. The Chronicle