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Mthwakazi kingship - The way it's done

30 Nov 2017 at 11:26hrs | Views
After keeping away from publicly commenting on the conversations on the restoration of our kingship, recent developments made me to reconsider my splendid isolation. I have renounced my silence, if for anything just to correct a few things. Until today I had chosen to limit myself to private debates with friends over a cup of tea or beer. I must confess that I have no interest in the revival of the kingship but limit myself only to facts and dissemination of knowledge. I also respect the contributions of people involved in all sides of the debate. They are men and women of sterling integrity and compelling character.

Please allow me to write to correct a mistake on Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo's recent utterances in the media.

Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo is set to announce himself as heir to the throne before December 5, 2017, something I believe he has wanted to do since 1997. I believe the reasons he did not do it earlier have nothing to do with his not trying hard enough but somehow because he convinced himself that the search team was going to nominate him. After-all he was front and centre and influential. He took it as a given that he was going to be the heir to the throne as did many of my friends and acquaintances.

For 20 years since 1997 when the chiefs (emphasis) inaugurated a process to identify the heir to the throne from the house of the last Mthwakazi king, i.e. King Lobhengula, Mthwakazians have patiently been waiting for the announcement of the heir not knowing that what was stalling the process was some manipulative princes seeking to maneuver themselves to the throne, holding Mthwakazi hostage to greedy and self-exaltation. You know the roles of Mcijwana and others. It is coming out clear now that Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo is determined to rig the process or just destroy everything if it does not enthrone him as others have tried before him.

Now that the process has rightly produced Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo as heir, Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo appears bent on crushing everything. He knows he is out of race but just wants to throw spanners and create confusion. Multiple sources are indicating that he is now even considering going to the courts to challenge the legitimate appointment of Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo as heir painting him as some foreign object. He is arguing that his grandson Bulelani cannot be King because he was born in South Africa, as if his forefathers Kings Mzilikazi and lobhengula were not themselves born in South Africa. Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo is a victim of colonialism we all know of. His accusers are speaking with forked tongues on this. Readers must not forget that Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo has all along told every person with interest that nguye owathela his grandson, uBulelani, inyongo. The significance of this ritual is powerful. By this act you are welcoming the person omthela inyongo ekhaya, kumathonga ekhaya, and fully integrating that person as a citizen yekhaya. He did all this because he never thought that some people were going to be diligent and meticulous enough to establish that Njube's grandchildren were the rightful heirs to the throne.

By announcing himself heir to the throne, Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo is not only going against tradition and custom but very much raising the middle finger against Mthwakazians. He is insisting ukuthi uzaba yinkosi ngenkani, come hell and high water.

Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo also outrageously argues that his Lobhengula royal house is the only one with the right to look for and crown the king. Again this goes against the most fundamental tenets of due process. How on earth do you have contestants or claimants acting as referees in a process they have a direct interest in? Every member of the so-called Lobhengula house, including Peter himself, is potentially a successor to the throne. How do you then have people sitting on their own and deciding among themselves who becomes the King? Being interested parties, all members of the so-called Lobhengula house are conflicted. They cannot be objective and impartial. In any process such as the one for identifying an heir to the throne, impartiality and objectivity are the pillars.

A student cannot be an examiner of his own work. You don't try your own case. This argument is culturally, logically and legally irrational and untenable. Just imagine a situation where there are only two people left in the so-called royal house and both are claiming to be qualified, there would be a deadlock, and no king for the people, the very thing that our forefathers sought to prevent. Worse still, imagine a situation where there is only one person left in the so-called royal house and he alone has the right to determine who becomes king. It means that person, at his pace, will have to appoint themselves at a time of their choice. There is also the issue of undue influence in situations where only a few family members have the exclusive and final say on the heir to the throne.

A manipulative member of the so-called royal house may elbow out the legitimate heir and impose on the nation either himself, as is becoming the case with Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo, or one of his favourite brothers. That is why our founding fathers laid down an elaborate process with all checks and balances to guard against exactly what Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo wants to shove down our throats. Our founding fathers were wise enough to erect checks against abuses of process to produce illegitimate heirs. The inclusive and broad process they put in place seeks to cure this evil by establishing popular and chiefs-driven and chiefs-led processes. Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo has already chosen himself and now wants to intimidate chiefs to endorse the outcome.

It is extremely important that those doing the identification should be mandated by custom and tradition to do so. A body purporting to exercise powers not conferred to it by custom would render the whole exercise invalid. Accordingly such an appointment would as a consequence be set aside.

Emphasis, our process is chiefs-driven and people-driven. In our culture the identification of the heir to the throne is done by chiefs based on pre-existing norms and principles. Where there is no clarity on the kingship lineage and/or the rightful heir to the throne the chiefs can bring in the generality of Khumalos led by an inclusive body of Khumalo Elders, iQoqo labadala for what of a better term, and tasked with the identification and report back to the chiefs and their constituencies. Even in this instance, the elders have no unlimited discretion in the exercise. They must find the rightful heir only from the direct descendants of the last king based on the principle of inkosi izala inkosi. An appointment that violates these cardinal principles would be invalid, null and void. Throughout the search iQoqo must keep the chiefs fully briefed. Once the rightful heir has been identified, iQoqo must report back to the chiefs and the people. There is no particular format of reporting that must be adhered to. Chiefs do not necessarily have to be gathered somewhere to receive the report. What is important is that chiefs, or at least those that are interested, must get the report by whatever means, including by word of mouth.

Having been following the debates of both sides and read their documents, I can safely say that I easily identify with the side that produced Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo as heir to the throne. The most important thing is that he was identified by OTHERS. A king is identified by others. He does not identify himself as Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo is attempting to do. Besides, a future king does not intimidate, insult, demonise and denigrate the very chiefs that he hopes to work with in future. A future king does not threaten chiefs with lawsuits. A future king respects chiefs and the people they lead. A future king fully understands that any lawsuit against chiefs is a lawsuit against the people. It does not take rocket science to know the consequences of that.

From the recent media stories I picked that his target is Chief Mathema. Why? Because Chief Mathema is leading a people-centred and people-driven process that has resulted in a legitimate heir to the throne. I now know for a fact that he is not alone. I have spoken to my own chief in the northern part of the Midlands province and to at least sixteen friends from Matebeleland North and South provinces and they tell me that their chiefs are working with Chief Mathema behind the scenes or in public. I have no doubt that there are a great number of chiefs behind Mathema. An attack on Chief Mathema or any other chief for that matter is therefore an attack on Mthwakazians. Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo's family-centred, family-driven and family-owned process can only produce a family-centred, family-driven and family-owned king. This is 2017, not year 1017. Families no longer govern people. People govern themselves. Chiefs are representatives of the people and the people express themselves through their chiefs on all matters of culture, tradition and custom. Those who try to intimidate their way to the throne will not succeed.

Even in your deepest frustration, I must advise, there are due processes to be followed. Simply put, a family of interested men cannot be the ones who determine who among themselves will be the King for the people. It's neither in our culture nor in our tradition to appoint yourself a king. If Peter is being advised by some people on this one, then he is getting the most terrible cultural and legal advice.

Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo also falsely claims the existence of the so-called Lobhengula Royal House. There is absolutely NO such thing in our culture. Our royal house is the Khumalo Royal House and is composed of AT LEAST ALL family members, MALE-LINE DESCENDANTS, immediate and extended, near relatives, siblings, half-siblings and their families, and grand children of both King Mzilikazi and King Lobhengula. Also a member is the patrilineal ancestor of both Kings, where the ancestor was a king. People become members of the royal house either by birth or marriage. The reigning king is the head of the Khumalo Royal House, which makes King Lobhengula the last legitimate head of the Khumalo Royal House. He took over the leadership of the royal house from his father, King Mzilikazi.

A new king does not create a new royal house but simply takes over its leadership. In this case all male-line descendants of King Mzilikazi and the King before him, if any, are an integral part of the royal house. The ascendancy of King Lobhengula to the throne did not and does not expel or oust the other descendants of his father or those of his brothers and half-brothers from membership in the royal house. This is how Nguni royal houses are structured. This is true with the Zulu and Swazi royal houses for instance, in varying degrees of similarities. Whatever the case may be, the composition of the royal house the way Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo is pushing is wrong.

The process that Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo seeks to use was neither used in the identification of King Mzilikazi nor in that of King Lobhengula. It is unprecedented and historically an insult. In both instances it was the decision of the chiefs that resulted in both these icons of our history being crowned kings. Both Kings Mzilikazi and King Lobhengula were crowned by chiefs. In our tradition and culture chiefs, not some self-appointed royal house, have the final say on who becomes the King. His is not a royal house but a gathering of close and extended family members only.

The way it is done is the way it was done in arriving at Bulelani Lobhengula Khumalo as the rightful successor to the throne. The only other way except is the invalid way.

As of 4 December 1893, the rightful heir to the throne was Njube and therefore the Mthwakazi kingship lineage lies with Njube, meaning only descendants of Njube can make valid claims to the throne. Nyamande and others and their descendants cannot lay any valid claims to the throne. Their appointment would therefore be irregular and not in a accordance with our culture, customs and traditions.

I have all the respect for Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo and value his contributions in many facets of our lives but on this one I have to respectfully disagree and hope that he is brave enough to correct his direction before it's too late. The road ahead of him will not be pleasant at all. Please baba Khumalo, akugobo lingeqondiswe. Akufanelanga sithi kuwe ababuyisi baphambili ngoba ngithemba uyindoda emadodeni.
Mlindeli Thwala writes in his personal capacity and can be reached at: deli.thwala777

Source - Mlindeli Thwala
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