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Zimbabwe Court Blocks Coronation of New Ndebele King

Zimbabwe police outside the High Court in Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe police outside the High Court in Bulawayo.

High Court judge Martin Makonese has passed a ruling blocking the coronation of Prince Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo as the new Ndebele king saying the move is unconstitutional.

Makonese made the ruling a couple of hours before the coronation at White City Stadium on Saturday where thousands of people, including traditionalists and crown prince enthusiasts from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and other nations, were expected to attend.

Prince Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo
Prince Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo

Local Government Minister July Moyo said a Ndebele king can only be installed if the Constitution of Zimbabwe is amended to accommodate such traditional leaders.

Effie Dlela Ncube, spokesperson of the Royal Crown Trust that is overseeing the installation of Prince Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo, said they will convene an urgent meeting to map the way forward amid with indications that the event may go ahead despite the court ruling.

The Ndebele prince has arrived in the country and is engaging traditional leaders and the Kumalo clan about the latest developments.

Chief Nyangazonke, one of the top traditional leaders in Matabeleland and Midlands regions, said it was surprising that Minister Moyo initially blocked the coronation of the Ndebele king two days ago when he was informed about the event last year.

Mthwakazi youth angered by the blocking of the coronation of a Ndebele king
Mthwakazi youth angered by the blocking of the coronation of a Ndebele king

Mthwakazi youth had running battles with the police while the deliberations were in progress at the High Court and local hotel about the installation of Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo.

At the same time, Raphael Khumalo and Peter Khumalo, who claim to be the rightful heir to the throne, are attempting to stop the installation of the king.

Section 280 of the Zimbabwe Constitution stipulates that the institution, status and role of traditional leaders under customary law are recognized.

“A traditional leader is responsible for performing the cultural, customary and traditional functions of a chief, headperson or village head, as the case may be, for his or her community.”