Brother claims Chief Ndiweni not rightful heir… ‘using opposition to get leverage’
By Vusumuzi Dube and Bruce Ndlovu
Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni (Chief Ndiweni) forced himself on to the throne despite knowing that he was not the rightful heir, his younger brother has claimed.
The latest revelations come after chiefs from Matabeleland North met in Bulawayo recently where they made a resolution that the process of appointing the Ntabazinduna chief be redone after his elder brother, who is based in the United Kingdom challenged his appointment.
Sunday News tracked down Chief Ndiweni’s younger brother, Douglas who said his brother had forced himself to the helm of the chieftainship.
“I’m the last born. I lived with our father until he passed away and today his home is in disarray. Some people have chosen not to respect traditions. It’s not that the traditions are not there, the traditions are there but some people just choose to leave the correct path and enter the bush.
“They know the right path but choose to ignore it. This is a path that we were shown by our ancestors, a path that we should also leave for our children. This is the path towards chieftainship.
“According to our customs, it is a disgrace that my brother, Nhlanhla Felix — someone that I grew up with — chose this path. We advised him that the position that he was now angling for was not his, that it has its correct owner. My father’s first born, Joram Thambo Ndiweni (based in the UK), is still alive. That is his seat. Our elders say that no sun can rise before another has set,” said Douglas.
He said the family’s first born, Joram had been endorsed by the late Chief Khayisa and knew all along that he was the heir to the throne after being groomed by their late father.
He further accused his brother of trying to seek relevance by altering his name from his birth name Nhlanhla to Nhlanhlayamangwe.
“My brother now calls himself Nhlanhlayamangwe but we don’t know how he got that name because at home his christened name is Nhlanhla Felix Ndiweni. To be honest we tried to warn him that he should have never gone for something that doesn’t belong to him when Joram is still alive.
“If Joram had died, there would have been a sit down among the Ndiweni family to determine what is to be done if the eldest son has passed away according to tradition. Besides, according to Nguni culture, he would have never ascended to the throne as only the eldest son can lead the people followed by the youngest. The middle child cannot lead the community,” said Douglas.
The younger brother revealed that no matter how much Chief Ndiweni protested his legibility to the throne, he would not be endorsed as their culture was clear on who the rightful heir was.
“It’s unfortunate that there are bad things that he has done despite our advice. But he will have to face the music. We tried to resolve this two or three years after my father passed away.
“We had several meetings involving our family with the District Administrator (now District Development Co-ordinator), Ennety Sithole and Latiso Dlamini the Provincial Administrator (now Provincial Development Co-ordinator). We were trying to make sure that we follow our traditions.
“The problem that we faced came from people from the outside.
“There were people claiming that they belong to the Ndiweni clan when they are not. Right now, there is a man that claims that he is also Ndiweni yet we don’t know him.
You’ll find him among the people saying that my father was his brother, this man being one Wilson Bancinyane Ndiweni,” said Douglas.
He alleged that before Chief Khayisa died they never saw Bancinyane and he only emerged trying to justify Chief Ndiweni’s ascendance to the throne.
“I never went to England like the others and I had never seen him. He never attended a funeral and he never attended a family wedding when my father was alive. This is the man that calls himself Bancinyane Ndiweni,” he said.
Douglas further accused his brother of trying to politicise a traditional matter to try and protect his unwarranted rise to the throne.
“He has been trying to use the political arm, unfortunately, of opposition parties to get leverage. However, this is a traditional issue. It does not matter who he talks to but this will remain a traditional issue. The chiefs were just following tradition.
“So, I’m surprised when my brother says he will contest this. What will he contest when he is not the late Khayisa Ndiweni’s first born,” said Douglas.
Questioned on reports that their mother was in support of his ascendance, Douglas said according to traditional customs, no woman had a say to any chieftainship matters, hence her opinion was irrelevant.
“According to our traditions, a female member of the family has no say when an issue like this comes up. The wife has no say, my mother who gave birth to me has no say in this issue.
“She comes from the Masuku family which also holds chieftainships but when it reaches a stage and certain issues are discussed she is supposed to sit down and observe.
“This is because she might misconstrue the Ndiweni family’s traditions. A woman cannot lay down the law to the family that she is married to,” said Douglas.
In 2014, Joram filed an application at the High Court in Bulawayo seeking to block his younger brother from being installed as substantive chief. The matter is still pending before the court.
“In his application, Joram said the Ndiweni chieftainship was hereditary and Chief Ndiweni’s appointment was in violation of Nguni custom, practice and norms.
“He said his younger brother was the 11th born in a family of 12 and his appointment was an abomination in Nguni custom and culture as well as untenable legally.
In his founding affidavit, Joram said following their father’s death in 2010, there was Nhlanhla’s “unlawful and unprecedented” appointment by then Local Government Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo and the late former President Mugabe. He said his family was of Nguni origin and he was the eldest son of the late chief, married with children, the eldest being 27-year-old Mhlambezi.
The Deputy President of the Chiefs Council, Chief Mtshane Khumalo, however, said Chief Ndiweni remains as the chief until the matter is dealt with as stipulated by the country’s constitution.
“We recommended that the process must be redone after Chief Ndiweni’s brother Joram who is in London objected to his appointment. He wrote a letter to the district administrator in Umguza saying the process had not been procedural and there is a court case.
“We sat and made a recommendation to the family that the process must be redone. It’s a process that must first be ratified by the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs and the Chiefs Council will make a resolution. He is still the chief, we made a recommendation and the National Chiefs Council may amend it, add or subtract.”
Chief Mtshane Khumalo said their meeting was guided by Section 283 of the Constitution which guides the appointment and removal of chiefs.
“The appointment, removal and suspension of chiefs must be done by the President on the recommendation of the provincial assembly of chiefs through the National Council of Chiefs and the minister responsible for traditional leaders and in accordance with the traditional practices and traditions of the communities concerned.
“Disputes concerning the appointment, suspension and removal of traditional leaders must be resolved by the President on the recommendation of the provincial assembly of chiefs through the minister responsible for traditional affairs,” reads part of the Constitution. Sunday News