Battle to succeed Chief Chiundura escalates

Two families claiming chieftainship in Chiundura district have put forward a petition to provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo accusing Gweru district administrator Shepherd Marwei of attempting to take the traditional leadership role from them.

Since time immemorial, the Chiundura chief’s position has been occupied in succession by individuals from the Muketiwa and Tavengwa families on a rotational system. After the death of Chief Tavengwa-Chiundura in 2011, according to the custom, it was the turn of the eldest son in the Tavengwa family to take over. The process of installing the new leader was delayed until early this year when the Gweru district administrator visited the area to settle the matter.

A meeting he held over the issue in the area on February 1 turned nasty when villagers suggested he wanted to impose a chief of his choice – Onnias Gandira. The Muketiwa and Tavengwa families have joined forces to protest the move, which is seen as corrupt by the Chiundura community.

In a letter seen by this reporter addressed to Chitiyo, the two families had no kind words for Marwei. “Due to the outcome of the minutes of the 1 February 2014 held at Gunde, we, the house of Mudhenga and Takawira, declare the following: the DA did not give all members of the houses a chance to air their views.
 He only gave the houses of Tawengwa and Gandira to speak but they are not involved in the chieftainship as per our custom,” part of the letter reads.

In an interview, Phinias Chiundura, the spokesperson for the two families, said the actions of Marwei were scandalous because he flouted the procedure for appointing a chief in Chiundura. “We feel the administrator wants to rob us of our chieftainship. It is against that background that we have placed our hope of recourse in the office of the provincial administrator,” he said.

Marwei denied trying to impose a chief in Chiundura, blaming the aggrieved families of trying to rope him into their misunderstandings. He also pointed out that he only chaired a meeting to guide the villagers in coming up with a new chief “because the actual power to appoint one lies with President Robert Mugabe,” he said.

Chiefs in the country have an influential role in the lives of rural communities.

Post published in: News

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