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Mnangagwa sued over Chivero chieftainship row

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By Mary Taruvinga


PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been taken to court by one Tendai Chitinhe who is involved in a fierce wrangle for the Chivero chieftainship with Cornleous Chengera.

Chengero was recently appointed Chief Chivero by Mnangagwa.

The fight has since spilled into the courts with Chitinhe claiming Chengero can only be mediator between the chief and the one who nominates them according to a family tree history.

Chitinhe has approached the High Court challenging Chengera’s appointment by Mnangagwa.

He argues the process was done fraudulently and is seeking to be declared substantive Chief Chivero instead.

In the court papers, Chengera was cited as the first respondent while other respondents include, District Administrator Chegutu, Provincial Administrator Mashonaland West, Local government minister and President Mnangagwa.

Chengera of Chivesani sub-house was appointed substantive chief by Mnangagwa on the 21st of May 2020 succeeding Chief Shopo who died in 2009.

Chitinhe said due process was not followed and accused the Director Traditional Leadership Support of diverting his appointment.

He said the Chivero chieftainship has its traditions and customs when it comes to ascension.

Giving history, Chitinhe said the Chivero dynasty devolves upon the house of Nyahunzvi whose descendants constitute three sub-houses from which they take turns to ascend to the chieftainship.

He said the three sub-houses in their seniority were Chivare, Madzorera and Wasvosva.

Chitinhe said Nyahunzvi’s first son, Chivesani (Chengera) does not partake of the chieftainship and he is not shown on the family tree and there has never been any descendant of his that ever became chief.

“Chivesani however plays an important role assigned to him in the chieftainship,” he said.

“He is the go-between or vanyai as it is called in Shona which is akin to the role of a mediator between the chief and Matibvu which is the installer known as Samagadza responsible for rain making ceremonies and is the custodian of the spiritual performances and practices of the Chivero people at the level of the chief.

“Thus the role of Chivesani from which Chengera descends from, was to be the go-between the spiritual leader (Matibvu) and the chief.

He said given these circumstances, Chengera who is a descendant of Chivesani cannot abdicate from the role of his ancestor no matter his desire to do so.

“He has the eternal responsibility in the Chivero chieftainship of a go-between. For example, he is the one who keeps the chief’s dura, that is the chief food which he will distribute to the need say in the day of hunger or he is the one who keeps say cattle or goats given by the chief en-route to Matibvu for spiritual performances,” he said.

According to Chitinhe, the last substantive chief Chivero died in 2009 and since then there has been an acting chief who is the son of the late Chivare sub-house.

In 2009, a meeting was held of all the sub-house with the Matibvu and Chivesani concerning the rituals and required practices after the chief had died.

In 2012, the DA wrote a letter to Samagadza (Matibvu) to kick-start the selection and nomination for the vacant substantive chief Chivero.

He said another meeting was held in 2013 with the DA and all sub-houses including chief Ngezi, Nyamweda and Mashayamombe.

In the meeting, the Madzorera’s sub-house was again picked by consensus as the next in line to provide a chief.

According to Chitinhe, at the third meeting, an accusation of incest was raised against Madzorera sub-house which accusation was to disqualify it from providing a chief.

The incest had been committed in 1949.

However, Madzorera house was required to provide five cattle and a cleansing ceremony was conducted by the Matibvu making Madzorera sub-house eligible to take its turn at this point in time to provide a chief.