Isdore Guvamombe Assistant Editor
Back in my village, when elders with cotton tuft hair sit to discuss matters of State and governance, among intermittent sips and sniffs, there are those whose contribution is known to stupidly go against the thread and are dismissively sent to skin the goat for the stew pot.
There, goat skinning is ordinarily for herd-boys, who themselves have no decision as to what happens to the meat, thereafter, let alone governance issues.
Of course, their benefit is one or two “thank you” pieces of meat from the most useless parts of the carcass. It is a deal to pacify the brainless, while the brainy sit and discuss serious matters.
It is village wisdom, that allowing goat skinners in the council of elders, is a waste of time, something akin to an impish attempt to paint the air.
Suffice to say, expecting any meaningful contribution from their ilk is indeed akin to expecting honey from a fly, it will not happen. You only get the fetid stuff.
In recent moons, one Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna on the outskirts of Bulawayo — may the ancestors save his subjects and the nation from his tomfoolery — has proved to be a goat skinner masquerading as a chief.
He certainly does not belong to his current office.
Traditionally, every chieftainship has its sacred shrines and paraphernalia and the people of that tribe are the protectors of that history, regalia and all that embodies it. Even in Christology — the study of Christianity — prophets do not share their paraphernalia. The same with our tradition.
But one wonders how Chief Ndiweni still believes in entrusting the sacred shrine of his people to a white man? This villager would be very happy to see the chief fight the Government to retain the full access of sacred shrines of his ancestors and not to fight for a white man to remain in charge of the shrine.
That white family occupying the land that engulfs Ntabazinduna Mountain is a colonial relic. If Rhodesian whites respected Ndebeles and their culture they would not have even attempted to settle people round the shrine, let alone make it part of a white man’s farm.
History should be a great teacher and one who ignores it, becomes a fool.
The ancestors of Chief Ndiweni’s tribe should surely be turning and twisting in their graves with shame and disgust that one of their own, a goat skinner masquerading as chief, believes the white man who forcibly took the land in Rhodesia should still take good care of their shrine. In fact, the ancestors could now be standing up in their graves awestruck by this frivolity. Taboo!
Chief Ndiweni should know that having stayed a long time in Europe and mingling with white people does not make him a white man, for, in my village a log thrown into a river does not become a crocodile.
I have convulsion when I think about whether Chief Ndiweni is representing his people or the interest of Europe where he stayed. Is this not a case of a white man in black skin?
This villager thinks the chief has lost his mind completely, especially when a video clip circulated in which he claimed that illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe were targeted at individuals and that this country’s economic hiatus was caused by corruption and bad governance only. How stupid? Karitundunduweee!
His subjects are reeling from the effects of the illegal sanctions, but he is safe with his family because he gets trinkets from his job — the goats, the cattle and the chicken he charges his subjects, over and above the trinkets he allegedly gets from the white farmers around him in the name of paying homage.
In my village, Karitundundu, the ageless village autochthon of wisdom and knowledge, says, “every man looks wise until he opens his mouth to say something. And, that is when you decide he is material for goat skinning and not the council of elders.”
Honestly, Chief Ndiweni has not taken his time to read ZIDERA, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act passed by the United States of America in 2001. I would expect a chief, one who stayed abroad for that long and speaks good English to have acquainted himself with it and lead his people from an informed position.
Do village elders not say, if you don’t read when you can, you as good as a person who cannot read?
Just a small except from Zidera will prove the chief that he is simply goat skinning material. A bit of research, would have stopped Chief Ndiweni from using his newly-acquired chieftaincy excitedly, like a child who has just received a new toy.
If Chief Ndiweni does not know that the US instructed all its directors in international institutions to oppose any funding for the Government of Zimbabwe and not merely, yet the Act clearly states the Government of Zimbabwe, then this is indeed a brazen disrespect not only for his people, but for himself.
Maybe a bit of background can also help enlighten the chief, so that he does not speak in a manner that in my village would send even the chicken laughing.
In the build up to the illegal sanctions, the US using its muscle had already started illegally sanctioning Zimbabwe through the International Development Association (IDA) over the war in Congo and the land occupations.
In September 1999, the IMF suspended its support under a ‘‘Stand By Arrangement’’, approved the previous month, for economic adjustment and reform in Zimbabwe.
In October 1999, the International Development Association suspended all structural adjustment loans, credits, and guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe.
In May 2000, the IDA suspended all other new lending to the Government of Zimbabwe.
In September 2000, the IDA suspended disbursement of funds for ongoing projects under previously-approved loans, credits, and guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe.
And the chief does not know this?
It has emerged clearly that the Chief has dabbled into politics and his speech at the recent MDC congress in Gweru, exposed him too badly.
He even regurgitated MDC leader Nelson Chamisa’s words ridiculing the President and the Chief Justice of the country. That was very stupid of him.
My friends in yonder Matabeleland says he has formed a side-kick, chiefs’ council, breaking away from the State recognised Chiefs’ Council, which has representatives in State structures. All that is goat skinning stuff.
Once upon a time, in a town called Bulawayo was a goat skinner of a Catholic Priest called Pius Ncube. This villager will not go into the story of the less Pius. But perhaps, Chief Ndiweni could look for that story and study it, for, I see him writing the same script with his mortar mouth. Time, village elders say, is a great teacher.
This excitement must end immediately. The tomfoolery must end now. A chief must act in a manner befitting his office. Grandstanding from an empty shell of a head, is too dangerous. The time to change attitude and focus for Chief Ndiweni is now.
Back in my village, a man who brings home a maggot infested log must not be surprised if lizards start visiting him.