BY ZENZELE NDEBELE
A call by a prominent Matabeleland chief for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to make way for a transitional authority to solve Zimbabwe’s deepening economic and political crisis has divided traditional leaders along political lines.
Chief Felix Nhanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, the son of the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni, last week said chiefs had taken a position that Mnangagwa’s government had failed and it was now time for change.
However, the leader of the Chiefs Council, Fortune Charumbira has reacted angrily to Ndiweni’s stance, saying he cannot speak on behalf of the traditional leaders, who mostly support Zanu PF.
Leaked WhatsApp chats between chiefs revealed that a click backing Charambira want Ndiweni dragged before the Chiefs Council to explain himself.
One of the chiefs even went to the extent of calling Ndiweni a “dissident” who was not wanted in the Chiefs Council.
“We don’t want dissidents in our national Chiefs Council,” said one of the chiefs in the chats. “Hon Charumbira, action must be taken now not tomorrow, these chiefs don’t respect our president.
“Do it alone little Ndiweni. Your mouth is full of little gigs we die for our government, go to Syria if you like war.”
Added one of the chiefs: “No many more cosmetics can beautify the frog. We will stand by our party Zanu PF and its executive presidium. I don’t rule out but soon he will meet his fate (sic).”
The chiefs said they knew that many of them shared Ndiweni’s sentiments.
Meanwhile, Ndiweni has stuck to his guns saying Charumbira had no grounds to discipline him since he also dabbled in partisan Zanu PF politics.
In the statements that ruffled feathers in the Chiefs Council, Ndiweni charged that Mnangagwa’s government had lost legitimacy.
“What is now clear is that the time for profound action has come, if we are serious about saving our country,” he said in statements published by a privately owned daily publication on January 24 .
“As chiefs, we have been assessing the government of the day for some time,” he added. “Our college of chiefs has come to the following position; that Zimbabwe does not have a government.
“One would not be faulted should he say the administration is a regime.
“The current administration has failed most profoundly on all criteria that identifies it is as a government.
“We have been patient and have given the administration the benefit of doubt that they may redeem themselves somehow, but to no avail.”
Charambira was last year ordered by the High Court to stop preaching Zanu PF politics as it was in violation of the Traditional Leaders Act.
But the former Local Government deputy minister whose chieftainship is disputed has remained defiant.
In December last year he addressed the Zanu PF conference in Esigodini.