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Chirumhanzu elders petition govt over chieftainship row

TRADITIONAL leaders in the Chirumanhzu area of the Midlands province have written to Local Government minister Daniel Garwe,




TRADITIONAL leaders in the Chirumanhzu area of the Midlands province have written to Local Government minister Daniel Garwe, accusing the Midlands provincial chiefs’ council (PCC) of unfairly selecting a family that does not belong to the royal family tree to provide a substantive chief.

Manoeuvres to have a substantive chief who does not hail from the royal family tree come after Tourism minister Barbara Rwodzi was caught up in the Chirumhanzu chieftainship wrangle.

Chief Chirumhanzu, born Gerald Mudzengi, died on 5 February 2019.

His son, Gerald Mudzengi, was accordingly made acting chief to serve in a temporary capacity until a substantive chief was installed.

At a meeting held on Thursday last week, the provincial chiefs’ council conducted a process that the traditional leaders are now challenging.

In a letter to Garwe dated 6 June, the traditional leaders wrote:

“We are grieved by the process followed by the Midlands Provincial Chiefs Council Representatives who visited Chirumhanzu Clan today (6 June 2024) to select a candidate for Substantive Chief Chirumhanzu. We are requesting the Honourable Minister to help with correcting the unjust and unfair process used in the proceedings which resulted in a biased and seemingly predetermined outcome by the PCC.”

In outlining the grounds for petitioning Garwe, the traditional leaders said there are two houses eligible for the Chirumanzu chieftainship selection, namely the Nherere house and the Mutizirapi house, the heirs to the Chief Chirumhanzu throne.

However, the PCC adopted the Nherera house and the Simba house which is a historical distortion used previously to disadvantage the Nherera house during the colonial era.

The traditional leaders said the PCC refused to hear the full context of the history of the Chirumhanzu chieftainship to address this historical imbalance favouring only one side of the two houses.

“The Provincial Chiefs Council did not provide equal opportunities for speaking to the two sides (Nherera and Mutizirapi) but instead allowed only one side (Simba) and no full members of Mutizirapi which favoured the Simba sub-house . Nherera is the son of Mhepo while Simba is the grandson, so this distortion was allowed in order to favour the Simba people which also disadvantages the other members of Mutizirapi,” they wrote.

“The Provincial Chiefs Council deliberately allowed disproportionate representatives of both houses and then used the majority views when the Simba sub-house was over-represented, with unvetted members again skewing the outcome.”

“The Provincial Chiefs Council used a Rotational system assuming that chieftainship was rotating on equal basis between the two Houses, which is incorrect as there was never any consistent rotation but in fact the other House (Mutizirapi) ruled two times more than Nherera House but the PCC refuse to entertain that important historical fact, again apparently giving an unfair advantage to the Simba sub-house.

“We therefore request the Honourable Minister to help correct this injustice and restore order in Chirimhanzu Chieftainship,” reads the petition.

It was signed by the Nherere house leader, traditional leaders Alois Rutunga, Chiminyamakono, Rutunga, Zinyoro, Chigegwe, Chipfuwamiti and Chiweshe.

According to the family tree of the Chirumhanzu chieftainship, the Chigegwe family is supposed to take the helm, after missing out in 2005 to the Chiweshe family under controversial circumstances.

This is contained in minutes of the Chirumhanzu chieftainship royal families’ dare (community consultative discussion) meeting held on 4 November 2022.

Part of the minutes read: “The chairperson, Mr. Jumo, advised the meeting that when selecting members for Headmen posts, try to respect the family tree. He reiterated the sequence of selection after the Acting period, as indicated under the process, with Chieftainship slotted for Chigegwe Sub-house going to Mudzengi, Chapanya’s eldest son, Mudzengi Dominic, who was present and consented that a younger person, act in his capacity. He nominated Julius Chimbi Chigegwe. In Nherera House from Chigegwe, chieftainship will go straight to Chimunye as a way of completing the first Phase of chieftainship.”

As part of the vision of the Chirumanzu chieftainship, the meeting agreed to: “Ensure unity among Chirumhanzu people and smooth succession of the Chirumhanzu Dynasty per Chisungo to ensure orderly transition, allocation of Headmanship, new chiefs and a Paramount Chief as done in the District within Chirumhanzu equitably. Changes as agreed by the Dynasty would include land distribution to benefit VaMhanzu and positions for families that are not in line for chieftaincy;

“An economically, socially, culturally, spiritually developed Chirumhanzu whose people enjoy a good standard of living and live in harmony with each other and with their relatives including Chiefs such as Hama, Nhema, Mapiravana, etc; and

“To regain control over allocation and use of resources within Chirumhanzu that VaMhanzu are entitled to, their inheritance, while ensuring ‘greatest happiness for the greatest number’, and take stock of current distribution and ownership of land, natural resources with the view to equitably sharing, benefiting and enabling access to the utilisation of the resources by all Chirumhanzu people through a Chirumhanzu Chieftaincy Dynasty Trust (CCDT).”

Before the PCC meeting, Minister Rwodzi was accused of stalling the process and working with Chirumhanzu district development committee coordinator Fortunate Chimedza to block the Chigegwe family and instead push for the installment of Tawanda Chipangura, elder brother of the minister.

The NewsHawks gathered that Rwodzi had been in constant touch with Chimedza and Tawanda, her elder brother, over the chieftaincy issue.

Evidence gathered shows that a senior member of the Rwodzi family, who is brother of the late minister’s husband and acts as the secretary-general of the Chirumhanzu Chiefs’ Trust, Aaron Rwodzi, is allegedly involved in the controversial manoeuvres.

Minister Rwodzi and DCC Chimedza refuted these findings when contacted by The NewsHawks.

“I have no clue what with you are saying. I never interfere with chieftainship as a matter of principle,” said Rwodzi.

When pressed further to clarify if she has not been in touch with Chimedza and Tawanda Chipangura as shown by WhatsApp messages obtained during the investigation, Rwodzi did not respond.

Chimedza said he is a principled public official who is ranked as one of the two best in the country and therefore cannot dabble in chieftainship issues.

“It is all lies from Satan. I am not involved in any such scheme. I have never been unprofessional in all my life. I have only been a DA in Chirumhanzu for the past three years. How can I influence something that happened five years ago?” he queried.

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