MIRROR REPORTER – An acting Chief continues to run the Mugabe Chieftainship in Masvingo 13 years after the death of his father thereby precipitating vicious wrangles in the families that hold claim to the crown.
The law requires that a chief be appointed two years after the death of the incumbent but this is being overlooked thereby creating chaos in the traditional leadership structures throughout the country.
Matubede Mudavanhu took over the throne when his father Mute Mudavanhu died on October 10, 2009. Under a traditional practice called materera, Matubede was supposed to hand over power in 2011 to a new chief agreed upon by the clan.
Henry Muganhu Makusha, a family spokesperson accused Government of ducking the eligible houses, holding secret meetings and failing to respect the law for 13 years. He said that Mudavanhu was supposed to act for two years in preparation of the selection of the successor. He said that the five houses eligible for the chieftainship are Mudavanhu, Dumbu, Chipfunhu, Haruzivishe and Chikanhe and the house in line, the Dumbu have been waiting in vain.
He said politics had taken precedence over the law in the appointment of chiefs resulting in diminished respect for traditional leaders by the public and even the subjects.
Masvingo District Development Coordinator (DDC) Ray Hove, said he could not comment because he is not responsible for setting up dates for selection of chiefs. He referred questions to Chief Chitanga real name Felani Chauke, the chairperson of the Masvingo Provincial Chiefs Assembly.
“Who told you that there is supposed to be a meeting for the selection of the next Chief Mugabe? I don’t set the dates for the selection. That is done by the Chiefs Assembly, you can ask Chief Chitanga,” said Hove.
Chief Chitanga said the Chiefs Assembly is ready for the selection process, but the process was stopped by Local Government and Public Works.
“Yes, we are aware of the Mugabe succession issue, as the Chiefs Assembly we are ready for the selection process of the next substantive Chief Mugabe, but the ministry of Local Government has stopped the process for reasons better known to them,” said Chief Chitanga.
“The next house in line is Dumbu. The Chiefs Council and Masvingo DDC were supposed to convene a meeting with all the houses where the families would confirm to the Council and Government the eligible house.
“All the houses are supposed to be informed about the meeting through the DDC. Earlier meetings to appoint the new chief were secretly scheduled without any letters to inform the houses. We don’t want the acting chief’s term to be renewed again.
“We believe that there are already shenanigans to do the same and this is coming from corrupt Government officials and some chiefs,” said Makusha.
He said Professor Emmanuel Dumbu (House of Dumbu) and Henry Makusha (House of Chipfunhu) have been trying to get the correct information from the DDC but he has been distancing himself from the process of appointing chiefs.
Some chieftainships that were challenged because of Government interference in the appointment process are Chief Nhema of Zaka and Chief Charumbira of Masvingo.