Blessings Chidakwa Herald Correspondent
THE row over Chief Chirumhanzu’s chieftainship in the Midlands Province has taken a new twist after a report was made to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) over allegations of bribery and corruption in the selection process.
This follows a fight over the replacement of the substantive Chief Jerald Mudzengi, who died in February this year.
Two warring factions recently approached the High Court in Masvingo over the matter.
According to a letter in the possession of The Herald, vice chairperson of the Chirumhanzu Chieftainship Dynasty, Alois Rutunga, approached ZACC to investigate and bring to book corrupt officials involved in the appointment of acting Chief for Chirumhanzu.
The corruption is said to have dated back several years.
“The office of a traditional chief is one that is revered,” wrote Mr Rutunga.
“Amongst its virtues, any chieftaincy should have qualities that are above board and the approval of its traditional leadership and its subjects in line with their tradition.
“The national Constitution Chapter 15 Section 283 is clear on the procedure to be undertaken, as stated that, it is the community involved that should nominate their preferred chiefs. The process of obtaining that traditional approval is that the respective Provincial Chief’s Council, led by the Chairman and supported by the DA and PA consult the Chieftainship Leadership and people at a public meeting convened following due notice.” Mr Rutunga further said: “In that respect, the selection of the ‘Sarapavana’, Acting Chief of the Chirumhanzu Chieftainship, did not adhere to laid down rules and procedures. The Chirumhanzu Chieftainship falls within the Midlands Provincial Chiefs Council that is chaired by Honourable Chief Ngungumbane who presides over the meetings to select a Chief or Acting Chief.
“The Chirumhanzu Chieftainship revolves, rotates and is shared amongst the two houses of Nherera and Simba. The two families have the sole and exclusive mandate to nominate their chiefs as has been their tradition since time immemorial. The two families constituted a Steering Committee on which the Traditional Leadership sits for the purpose of deciding on those traditional issues. “The events that spell out the anomaly in adherence to the Constitution and rules are stated below: First, Fidelis Mudzengi, the Son of the late Chief, who was an unpreferred candidate for the position of “Sarapavana” and Acting Chief by the Traditional Leadership Committee and people, was hand-picked ahead of Julius Chimbi Chigegwe. “Julius Chimbi Chigegwe was selected and endorsed by the huge majority at a duly convened meeting — on June 11, 2019, attended by the Chief’s Council representatives and Local Government Officials at Rutunga, Chirumhanzu.”
The letter alleges that the responsible secretaries and administrators namely the Chirumhanzu Assistant District Development Coordinator Ms Mpofu, the District Development Coordinator a Ms Melody Mafukidze also referred to as Mrs Jiri, and the assistant Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Siziba, as well as the Chief’s Council representatives misrepresented, deliberately, the publicly expressed wishes of the people and Traditional Leadership Steering Committee of Chirumhanzu.