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Dispute over Chief Sigola successor

by Staff reporter
10 May 2023 at 05:58hrs | Views
ESIPHEZINI headman, Mr Elmon Dlodlo, will be acting Chief Sigola until a new heir to the throne is appointed in line with the clan's culture and tradition, as well as national laws, the family has said.

Chief Zephania Sigola died at United Bulawayo Hospitals on May 1 after a long illness and was buried at his farmhouse in Esiphezini, Umzingwane District last week Friday.

Scores of mourners, who included traditional leaders, service chiefs, civic leaders, senior Government officials as well as the ruling party officials attended the service.

The chief was given a State-assisted funeral in line with the Government's policy on the burial of traditional leaders.
Moments before the late traditional leader's coffin was lowered into the grave, the chief's only surviving child, Ms Nomalanga Sigola, was handed the traditional sceptre (intonga) by her late father's uncle from the Ngungumbane clan, with a village elder, Mr Joel Mpofu later revealing that the late chief had chosen his daughter as the heir to his throne.

However, an aunt to the late chief, Mrs Eunice Mtungwa, distanced the family from what she said was a ‘culturally embarrassing' action by Mr Mpofu.

She said the whole clan was left shocked and embarrassed by what happened last Friday and stated that the family would soon summon Mr Mpofu to explain himself and why he did not engage the family first to inform them of whatever the late chief had said to him on his death bed.

"As per culture and tradition, the headman will automatically lead the people as acting Chief Sigola, that is the procedure, not that embarrassing thing we saw at the burial of my nephew," said Mrs Mtungwa.

"Igangile indoda leyana and as family we shall soon be summoning him, usephambanise umntwana and we are certainly not happy," she said.

Mr Mpofu, who was also a confidante to the late Chief Sigola, claimed that they were merely following instructions from the late traditional leader whom he said was clear that his daughter Ms Nomalanga must be given the sceptre on his burial day and that if anyone challenged  that decision, he will ‘wake up from' his grave.

The late Chief Zephania Sigola was the third generation in the Sigola chieftainship after his father, Chief Samson Sigola  and his grandfather Chief Maqandela Sigola.

Mrs Mtungwa said the family was not even thinking about who is the rightful heir at the moment but was guided by its culture and the national law as was also communicated to the mourners by the chief mourner who is also the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo.

"People must understand that our concern is based on something that our culture and tradition frowns upon, nothing else. As the Sigola clan we are yet to congregate and bless whatever position is taken not to rush things as what this man wants the family to do. What is the need for rushing when people are still in tears," said Mrs Mtungwa.

In his keynote address to the mourners, Minister Moyo said in terms of the Traditional Leaders Act, in the event of a chieftainship vacancy, there will be an acting chief for two years and after that period the council of chiefs is required to engage the family for the substantive chief of an area.

He said the first part of appointing an acting chief was done immediately while the appointment of a substantive chief may take some time.

Reads Article Three of the Traditional Leaders Act on the appointment of a chief: "Subject to subsection (2), the President shall appoint chiefs to preside over communities inhabiting Communal Land and resettlement areas. In appointing a chief in terms of subsection (1), the President — a) shall give due consideration to — (i) the prevailing customary principles of succession, if any, applicable to the community over which the chief is to preside; and (ii) the administrative needs of the communities in the area concerned in the interests of good governance; and (b) wherever practicable, shall appoint a person nominated by the appropriate persons in the community concerned in accordance with the principles referred to in subparagraph (i) of paragraph (a): Provided that, if the appropriate persons concerned fail to nominate a candidate for appointment as chief within two years after the office of chief became vacant, the Minister, in consultation with the appropriate persons, shall nominate a person for appointment as chief".

Source - The Chronicle