HARARE – President of the National Council of Zimbabwe Chiefs Fortune Charumbira has asked Rural Development, Protection and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage minister, Abednigo Ncube, to stay away from boundary disputes in Masvingo.
Charumbira’s request was contained in a damning letter to the minister, after Ncube waded into an acrimonious boundary dispute in the chief’s area of jurisdiction.
This came after Ncube’s ministry held a meeting in Masvingo in July in a bid to install a new chief, headman Nemanwa, who is under the jurisdiction of Charumbira.
“It has come to my attention that today Thursday, July 20, your ministry is holding a meeting in Masvingo to upgrade and agree boundaries between the purported new chief and the surrounding chiefs.
“Nemanwa is a headman under the jurisdiction of Chief Charumbira not Chief Mugabe or Chief Murinye, who have been invited to draw boundaries with Nemanwa,” Charumbira’s letter reads.
“I was neither invited nor made aware of the said meeting taking place today. This does not only induce a sense of shock but also is a clear sign of undermining my authority as chief. In addition, the conduct of the ministry is grossly unprocedural. It is also unconstitutional.
“I therefore write on behalf of the Charumbira community not only to protest but also to object to the purported upgrading of headman Nemanwa within my area of jurisdiction.
“The conduct of the ministry, if unchecked, is likely to invite flood gates of litigation. The conduct is also causing division and political acrimony in our community.”
During the same month, the Masvingo chiefs’ provincial assembly also wrote a letter to Magosvongwe, accusing the ministry of splashing money to fight Charumbira.
“A disproportionately high budget has been dedicated and spent on the Bere, Nemanwa and Charumbira chieftainship dispute,” reads the July 26 letter penned by Senator Chief Chitanga, chiefs’ provincial assembly chairperson.
“All the three issues are in conflict with the Charumbira people. This has denied resources for other chieftainship matters that need attention and have been on the waiting list longer. We have always been told that there is no money for other chieftainship matters but the only money available is for the Bere issue and others around Charumbira.
“It was clear from the meeting that the ministry is so obsessed with anything to do with Chief Charumbira and the Charumbira chieftainship at the expense of procedural or legal propriety. In fact, because of the ministry’s apparent obsession with the Charumbira issues, the provincial assembly has to proceed in a legally proper manner.
“There appears to be more than sees the eye. We do not want to be part of what we do not know. We will insist that we proceed in a manner that is foolproof at law. While the ministry has unlimited access to funds to pay legal costs, we do not have a penny. The provincial assembly will therefore proceed in a manner that does not attract unnecessary litigation.”
The traditional leaders from Masvingo further alleged that “the ministry is destabilising our province and our institution by attempting to appoint teams of chiefs.”
“This is an attempt at divide and rule. You want to create factions among chiefs. We will remain opposed to such illegitimate and politically toxic endeavours.”