Chief Mugabe selection process rocked by disputes

By Brighton Chiseva

NEMAMWA – Five houses that constitute the Mugabe chieftainship namely Dumbu, Chipfunhu, Haruzivishe, Mudavanhu, Chikanhe – Muzondo have petitioned authorities to register their displeasure with the on-going selection of substantive chief.

The families argue that the process was being done unprocedurally and was rigged in favour of the acting chief, Matubede Mhute Mudavanhu.

The aggrieved families have since written two petitions to one to the Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) formerly known as Provincial Administrator (PA) Fungai Mbetsa and the other to the District Development Coordinator (DDC) formerly called District Administrator (DA) Ray Hove.

Dated May 24 and June 7, 2019 and signed by representatives of the five houses, the letters were copied to the Director Traditional Leaders Support Services, the office of the Minister of Masvingo Provincial Affairs and the President’s Office.

In the first letter, the aggrieved families say they were concerned that the process of choosing a substantive chief was not following traditions.

They accuse the team leading the process of acting corruptly, saying they were literally imposing Mudavanhu – who has been acting chief since 2009 – as substantive chief against the tradition of rotating the throne among all the royal families.

“We want to bring to your attention of that there (sic) is a backdoor activity trying to bring back an acting chief as substantive Chief Mugabe. This is against our customs and traditions. We are feeling that there is a great betrayer (sic) on us as a result of very corrupt people sent by the government to handle the selection process.

In the follow up letter, the Mugabes claim that the selection process had in the past been delayed unjustifiably to give the acting chief room to manoeuvre.

They argued that custom demands that the next substantive chief be chosen from the Dumbu house.

“The customary principle of succession is quiet clear; it has remained based on rotation of the five houses. There is no time in our history where the chieftaincy has been passed from father to son as we now see being imposed on us,” reads part of the letter.

When contacted for comment, Mbetsa claimed he had not yet seen the petition, saying the matter was still at consultation stages within the provincial chiefs’ council.

“I am yet to see the petition but if Mudavanhu was indeed nominated, it’s them who know about it and the chief’s council. The matter is still at consultation stages and the provincial chiefs’ council is above the situation. They have not yet submitted their resolutions to my office,” said Mbetsa.

According to the Mugabes, Dumbu was the second chief after Mugabe who reigned before 1850. Dumbu was replaced by Chipfunhu who reigned from 1853 to 1894 and was succeeded by Mudavanhu who reigned between 1921 and 1927.

Chikanhe took over the reins from 1929 to 1934 and was succeeded by Muza who ruled from 1936 to 1943.

Muza was Mugabe’s grandson and son to Haruzivishe and was the first to rule after Mugabe’s sons.

Muza was replaced by Chiminya the son of Dumbu who reigned from 1945 to 1951 before he was replaced by Mushuku son of Chipfunhu who ruled between years 1953 and 1959.

Chikudo son of Haruzivishe took over in 1962 and ruled up to 1973 before he died and was replaced by Dr Stanely Manyera son of Muzondo in 1975 who ruled up to 1997.

Muzondo was replaced by Mhute Mudavanhu, son of Mudavanhu, who ruled from 2000 to 2009 and was replaced by his son Matubede, the current acting chief whose suitability for the throne is being disputed.

According to the chronology, the Dumbu, Chikanhe-Muzondo, Chipfunhu and Mudavanhu houses ruled two times each and Haruzivishe ruled for three times. They therefore argue that it is yet again time for the Dumbu house to take the throne in accordance with the rotational sequence of choosing chiefs.

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