GOVERNMENT has summoned traditional chiefs from Matebeleland provinces to warn them against supporting a recent bid to install a Ndebele king for the region.
This was revealed by Local Government Minister July Moyo while addressing senators in the upper house last Thursday.
A recent attempt to install a South Africa-based Bulelani Collins Khumalo as Ndebele king was stopped by Bulawayo High Court judge Martin Makonese who declared there were no constitutional provisions paving waving for the introduction of a monarch.
Those who were pushing for the controversial idea insisted this was an attempt to restore the old order where there was a Ndebele king, a system which was scrapped during the onset of white colonialism in the 19th century.
“…We went and invited all the chiefs from Matabeleland North, South; we could have invited every other chief who has an interest about this issue of kings, but we thought we were dealing with one region,” Moyo said in response to a question raised in the upper house.
He added: “We as Ministers once a matter is before the courts, were obliged to withdraw and allowed the President of the Chief’s Council, Senator Chief Charumbira and his deputy Senator Mtshane Khumalo to then finish the deliberations.
“Once the court had pronounced itself, again we gave the President of the Chief’s Council and his deputy to say please, let all the chiefs understand the ruling of the High court and withdraw from that position.
“However, the position that we are taking as government; is a position that has been taken in the Constitution.”
The blocking of the coronation of a Ndebele king evoked tribal tensions with Ndebeles accusing a Shona-controlled Zimbabwean government and bench of attempts to suppress their culture.
But in his comments, minister Moyo denied this was inspired by tribal differences, insisting almost similar attempts by Shonas received the same attention from the authorities before.
“…There are those who want to revive Munhumutapa, we do not have that emperor in the Constitution and we advised them accordingly.
“Last year, there were those who wanted to have a Rozvi King and we advised equally the same that we do not have that terminology in our Constitution.
“Until the Constitution has been amended accordingly, we cannot advice anybody contrary to what the Constitution says.”