Some chiefs have voted for the removal of government critic, Chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, who recently urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to step down, saying maladministration and not targeted sanctions imposed by the West is devastating the southern African country’s economy.
Ndiweni, who was recently jailed for teaming up with some villagers to forcibly remove an adulterous woman from her homestead, has been a thorn in the flesh for Mnangagwa’s government, which came into power following a defacto military coup that led to the removal from office of the late former president Robert Mugabe.
According to some chiefs, who spoke on condition of anonymity with VOA Studio 7, chiefs from Binga, Matabeleland North province, moved a motion to remove Ndiweni from office, and were backed by several others believed to be Mnangagwa’s sympathizers.
One of the chiefs said, “We want to be very clear on this issue … Ndiweni is not stepping down. The people who moved this motion don’t understand how we chose chiefs. They are government lapdogs. We can’t sit back and think things are normal. Ndiweni is being targeted by the government for being open-minded. Nothing else.
“This is a big disgrace. We the Ngunis know that Ndiweni’s family chose him as heir to the throne. It’s only the Ndiweni family members who can do this. We know that some politicians is behind this.”
Political and social commentator Mqondobanzi Magonya claims that some politicians in Matabeleland want Chief Ndiweni to be removed as he strongly opposes Mnangagwa’s government.
VOA Studio 7 was unable to speak with Ndiweni and his family members about this latest development.
Section 283 of the Zimbabwe Constitution stipulates that in the terms of the appointment and removal of traditional leaders, “an Act of Parliament must provide for the following, in accordance with the prevailing culture, customs, traditions and practices of the communities concerned - the appointment, suspension, succession and removal of traditional leaders; constituteproject; the creation and resuscitation of chieftainships; and the resolution of disputes concerning the appointment, suspension, succession and removal of traditional leaders.
“… But 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.”
It further stipulates that 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 leaders.
“The Act must provide measures to ensure that all these matters are dealt with fairly and without regard to political considerations and the Act must provide measures to safeguard the integrity of traditional institutions and their independence from political interference.”