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» » » Bota Chieftainship wrangle rages on

Farai Munerei

 …as three families fight for headmanship

Brighton Chiseva

ZAKA – The delays made by the government to install substantive Chief Bota in Zaka has caused a lot of problems in an area suffering wrangles related to the selection of substantive headmen Mushaya and Dekeza.

The Bota chieftaincy fell vacant in 2016 year when then chief Chiyo Mugabe died, sparking a fight for control between his two sons Naboth and Peter Mugabe.

By virtue of being the eldest, Naboth was supposed to take over but he had been ostracised for allegedly plying opposition politics in the previous years when he represented his elderly father in many roles.

His younger brother Peter took over the role of standing in for his ailing father, but it all turned sour when the chief died, and after authorities made the late chief’s younger brother Zezai Charuka acting chief.

Due to his advanced age Charuka also delegated authority to his son Kamurai Zezai who was asked to work hand in hand with the late chief’s son Peter.

However, the two failed to work together as each of them sought to build their own bases by appointing conflicting headmenships without the consulting the other.

Some deliberations were done in 2018 to choose the next chief, whom many agreed should be from the Bwazvo family of the Mutatavikwa house but this has not yet materialized.

A number of village heads are now calling for the immediate intervention by government so that a substantive chief can be appointed before the conflict degenerates.

“The government should make sure that a substantive chief is found as a matter of urgency. The acting chief is after fattening his pocket and we cannot continue like this anymore,” said one village head who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In the Mushaya headmanship, the acting chief is said to be preparing to install Wilson Nhongo as headman without proper procedures being followed and is alleged to have asked for five beasts as his payment and has been shown three so far.

The Mushaya headmanship has five houses namely Mutangiri, Mawarure, Chaurura, Chinezema, Rusira and Muzongomerwa.

The headmanship is currently in the Chavurura house’s Mugarajira family which currently holds it on an acting basis following the death of the substantive headman more than five years back.

However, deliberations done later resolved that the headmanship must go to the Mutangiri house which is made-up of two sub-families namely Munerei and Tavengwa.

Some deliberations that were done last year in June had resolved that the throne goes to the Munerei family but it is alleged that the acting chief was bribed by the Tavengwa family and is now in favor of their ascendency.

When contacted for comment at some point, the acting chief denied having been bribed and said he had no power to install a headman but could only guide the process as the leader of the chiefdom.

“I have no power to install a headman and people who are saying I am being bribed are only after soiling my name,” said Zezai.

Nhongo also said by virtue of being the eldest member and a father to the Munerei he was supposed to take the leadership of the area saying the Munerei’s are his sons and could not rule while he was still there.

“I am the father figure left in the Mutangiri house so I am the heir to the throne not the Munerei family. They are my sons and if they are to rule it will be after my blessing,” said Nhongo

However, an anonymous member of the Munerei family said Nhongo and the Chief publicly acknowledges that the throne was theirs but they will not rule because they are stingy.

“The Chief and Nhongo were heard saying the throne belong to us when the chief was shown the beasts at Nhongo’s place but will not give us our right because we refused to bribe him,’ said the family member.

Munerei family had chosen Farai Munerei as the heir to the throne and claiming that the families had at some point agreed to his ascendency.

Others also allege that the acting headman Mushaya bribed the current Zaka District Development Coordinator (DDC) Memory Dhliwayo to stall the new headman selection process so that can have more time as acting headman.

When contacted for comment, Dhliwayo refused to comment as had been her norm saying she was not authorized to speak to the media so she could not comment on anything before seeking for permission form her superiors.

“I cannot talk to the media unless I have been authorized by my superior who is the Provincial Development Coordinator,” said Dhliwayo

Another storm is brewing in the nearby area of Dekeza where there is a wrangle over the substantive headmanship of the area following the death of the substantive headman in 2017.

The Dekeza clansmen are saying the time the two year term which a chief or headman should be on acting basis has already lapsed.

The Dekeza originally had four houses who are the sons of Chikanda or Gandamina who had been given the chieftaincy from his father Nyajena.

The four houses are Zimbende, Chena, Muchinjwa and Magadzire and the throne should rotate among the four houses as it had been monopolized by a single house for too long.

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