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Man loses chieftainship war

by Staff reporter
25 Feb 2024 at 07:24hrs | Views
THE High Court has dismissed an application by a former acting chief from Gokwe who wanted the court to reverse the appointment of a substantive chief for the area.

Mika Katyavazungu, who was acting Chief Nemangwe, wanted the appointment of the late Peter Muchabeta as the substantive chief of the area reversed.

Muchabeta died of natural causes in July last year before the matter could be heard in court.

Katyavazungu had cited Muchabeta, district development co-ordinator Gokwe South, Local Government minister Winston Chitando, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs as respondents.

In his application, Katyavazungu claimed that Muchabeta was unprocedurally appointed as Chief Nemangwe.

Katyavazungu, who was the eldest son, had been acting Chief Nemangwe following the death of his father Elijah Katyavazungu in 2009. Authorities later appointed Muchabeta.

The former acting chief claimed that he was nominated to take over  at a meeting held on January 30, 2009 as the eldest son.

Katyavazungu said he was alarmed when he received a letter from the district coordinator indicating that Muchabeta had been appointed Chief Nemangwe on March 29, 2023.

Katyavazungu accused Chief Ntabeni and Chief Nenyunga of imposing Muchabeta as a candidate for the Nemangwe chieftainship.

Muchabeta had, however, deposed an affidavit opposing Katyavazungu's application where he disputed all his averments before he died.

Muchabeta had submitted that Katyavazungu's appointment was on interim basis during the mourning period.

He also submitted that Katyavazungu's family left the country for Zambia before Zimbabwe's independence and was, therefore, not eligible for the post.

Muchabeta passed away last year before oral arguments were heard in court.

The matter was nonetheless set down for hearing.

Masvingo High Court judge Justice Sunsely Zisengwe found that Katyavazungu misled the court when he suggested that the dispute has nothing to do with the appointment, but selection.

"The applicant (Katyavazungu) unwittingly contradicts himself by averring on the one hand that succession to the Nemangwe throne unquestionably devolves from father to son, yet in the same breath he lists countless meetings all held with the sole purpose in mind, namely the selection of a new chief,"  Zisengwe ruled.

"The very fact that innumerable meetings were held, some successful, some abortive and yet some disputed is testament to the fact that succession is not as linear as he wants everyone to believe.

""The issue of the accession of Muchabeta to the throne has now been overtaken by his very death."

The judge added: "If applicant's contention is to be taken to its logical conclusion then it would mean the untenable interrogation of the propriety of the succession of each preceding chief to the throne dating back to the very inception of that chieftainship."

The judge ruled Muchabeta's death had extinguished any dispute that Katyavazungu had regarding his chieftainship.

Source - the standard