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Chief Ndiweni installation stopped

by Mashudu Netsianda
22 Aug 2014 at 06:56hrs | Views
THE planned installation of Nhlanhla Felix Ndiweni, the youngest son of the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna, as substantive chief today, has been shelved as his backers appear to have climbed down from an earlier position to proceed with the ceremony.

The cancellation of the installation ceremony was announced in the Bulawayo High Court yesterday in a matter in which the late respected Ndebele chief's eldest son, Joram Khayisa Thambo, was seeking an order stopping the ceremony on the grounds that he is the lawful heir to the throne.

Joram filed an urgent chamber application on Wednesday through his lawyer Sindiso Mazibisa citing Umguza District Administrator Ennety Sithole, Nhlanhla and the Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing Dr Ignatius Chombo as first, second and third respondents respectively.

The installation was scheduled for today at Ndiweni's homestead in Ntabazinduna, Umguza District. An advertisement that appeared in the press yesterday, purportedly placed by "the Ndiweni family, the council of elders and the people of Ntabazinduna", invited the general public "on the occasion of the celebration of Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Kayisa Ndiweni as the new chief of Ntabazinduna."

However, Tinei Dodo of the Attorney General's Office, who is representing Dr Chombo and the Umguza District Administrator, said today's ceremony would only be a family gathering and not an installation ceremony.

"My Lord, tomorrow's (today's) ceremony will just be a family gathering; no installation of Chief Ndiweni will take place," he told the court yesterday.

This prompted Justice Martin Makonese not to grant any order in the matter.

Joram, who is based in the United Kingdom, filed an urgent application at the High Court seeking an order stopping today's installation pending determination by the courts on the main matter on who should be substantive chief.

Nhlanhla Felix, who is the defendant in the matter, has, through his lawyer, Stephen Collier of Webb Low and Barry, entered an appearance to defend the action by his brother to block him from taking over the reins.

This follows summons, which were served on him by Joram's brother Douglas Dumisani last Friday, calling for the nullification of Nhlanhla's appointment as heir on the grounds that proper procedures as stipulated under the Traditional Leaders Act were not followed.

Chief Ndiweni's widow, Agnes, is alleged to have crossed swords with Joram and Douglas when she convinced the government to instal her last born son, Nhlanhla, as chief.

In the application, Joram said the Ndiweni chieftaincy was hereditary and Nhlanhla's appointment was in violation of Nguni custom, practice and norms.

In his founding affidavit, Joram said following Chief Ndiweni's death in 2010, Sithole, acting in connivance with his young brother and various other persons, chose Nhlanhla as substantive chief in 2012 in violation of the law and Nguni practice and norms.

He said the move was followed by the "unlawful and unprecedented" appointment of Nhlanhla by Sithole, Dr Chombo and President Mugabe, as substantive chief.

Joram said his family was of Nguni origin and he was the eldest son of the late chief, married with children, the eldest being 27-year-old Mhlambezi.

He said in terms of the Traditional Leaders Act, President Mugabe "has to appoint a successor in terms of the prevailing customary law principles of succession, and in our culture, the eldest son is the heir to the throne of the late chief."

Joram said in terms of the law, appropriate persons in the community were supposed to be consulted.

"This was not done by the Respondents. If anything, the appointment was done arbitrarily and unilaterally outside the parameters of the enabling statute," he said.

Joram said his younger brother was the 11th born in a family of 12 and his appointment is an abomination in Nguni custom and culture as well as untenable legally.

"No lawful impediment exists against my appointment, failure to which my eldest son Mhlambezi is alive and fit to assume the chieftainship. This is in accordance with our culture and customary traditions. It is not foul of any statute and does not offend our traditional systems. It is a system that has been in place for generations and generations and cannot be questioned by respondents today," said Joram.

"For the record, the appropriate persons, being family members, were not consulted in the appointment process."

Joram said Nhlanhla's appointment was not done by the Ndiweni family in terms of Section 3 of the Traditional Leaders Act.

"In terms of the Nguni custom, a chief is appointed once all customs and rites have been followed and in consultation with the clan of Nhlambabaloyi. The family and community members were not interviewed and that renders the process defective," he said.

"In Nguni or Ndebele custom, chieftainship is hereditary. As the first born, if the applicant is not fit and proper then his first born son will take his place. The Respondents' actions collectively are null and void and must be set aside and the process restarted."

Joram said despite opposition through his legal representatives and communication with the relevant offices, Nhlanhla was appointed substantive chief without compliance with the law.

Source - chronicle

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