Judge Zisengwe orders reselection of Chiredzi headman 

Simbarashe Mtembo 


MASVINGO – High Court Judge, Justice Sunsley Zisengwe has ordered a reselection process to ascertain the legitimacy of Hanyani Haisa Zava who is claiming to be headman Mpapa of Chiredzi in waiting.

The applicant, Khamazula Mpapa alleges that Zava greased Chiredzi District Development Co-ordinator’s (DDC) hands hence the latter is allegedly thwarting any efforts for a proper selection process.

Justice Zisengwe ordered Masvingo Chiefs Assembly to carry out the verification process within the next 30 days amid allegations that Zava was never selected. 

Justice Zisengwe gave the order on Wednesday after Khamazula who claims to be the duly selected headman alleged that Zava who is ‘masquerading’ as the headman was never selected by the clan elders. 

Khamazula alleges in his application that Zava has been conniving with the DDC while paying bribes to corruptly pave his way into the chieftaincy. This has seen the DDC’s office thwart any efforts by the Mpapa community in appointing a substantive headman, argues Khamazula.

The order also bars Zava of Haisa Village, Mpapa area of Chiredzi under Chief Sengwe to refrain from presenting himself as Headman or Chief Mpapa until he is duly appointed in terms of the law. 

The order also compels the Chiefs Assembly to submit its findings to the Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage (Sic) in 60 days of the granting of the order and the Minister should in turn submit appropriate recommendations to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 90 days of the order.   

The Mpapa headmanship is one of three headmanships that President Mnangagwa promised to transform into chieftainships last year.

The respondents in the matter are Zava, Masvingo Provincial Chiefs Assembly, Masvingo Chiefs Assembly Chairperson Chief Chitanga born Felani Chauke is the third respondent with the Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage (Sic) being the fourth respondent. 

Khamazula was represented by Clement Kwirira of Kwirira and Magwaliba Legal Practitioners. The respondents were not represented.  

The Mpapa community has not had a substantive headman since 2009 and Khamazula argued that Chiredzi DDC office and Permanent Secretary’s office formerly District and Provincial Administrator’s offices respectively did not take up the Mpapa community elders recommendations on the appointment of the headman to the President.

The DA and PA’s offices were responsible for recommendations of traditional leaders appointments prior the establishment of the Chiefs Assemblies and Council in 2013.

“The first respondent was never chosen by the Mpapa community either to be their headman or Chief. Our traditions and customs are in tangent with his outrageous claim to the traditional leadership position. He is very junior to me, and no elders council ever nominated him to take the traditional leadership role. 

“In any event he was not chosen by any council of elders. He has been working with the District Administrator’s Office at Chiredzi, in circumstances that suggest impropriety, bribery or corruption.

“It was resolved that I was the oldest surviving son born by the immediate sons of Mpapa and by virtue of that seniority I was nominated to take the position of headman. However, since 2009 to date the Mpapa people have not had a substantive headman let alone any head person since the ordination processes have not been done,” reads part of Khamazula application.

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