The Murinye chieftainship wrangle in Masvingo involving two brothers is far from over, with the elder brother now seeking Government intervention. Milton and Ephias Munodawafa, from Chibwe area under Chief Murinye, had their dispute spill to the High Court six years ago. Milton wanted an order declaring that the customary laws of succession were not observed in the appointment of his young brother Ephias as chief.
He sought to have the Minister of Rural Development and Preservation of Culture and Heritage ask President Mugabe to remove Ephias from the chieftainship and a meeting of the clan elders be convened to elect the most suitable candidate.
After hearing the matter, High Court judge Justice Amy Tsanga held that the Constitution made it clear that the President should deal with such disputes and that recommendation should come to him through the provincial assembly of chiefs and the minister responsible for chiefs.
Milton’s lawyer Advocate Webster Chinamora has written to Minister of Rural Development and Preservation of Culture and Heritage Abedinico Ncube asking for his assistance in asking the provincial assembly of chiefs for Masvingo to convene a meeting over the dispute surrounding the Murinye chieftainship.
The meeting would be expected to come up with a recommendation that will inform how the President will resolve the dispute.
“We approach you, Honourable Minister (Ncube), to request the provincial assembly for Masvingo to convene the meeting I have alluded to…,” read the letter dated April 30, 2017.
“This matter is of importance to local governance and establishing stability and finality to the Murinye chieftainship dispute. In that respect, time is of the essence and your expeditious attention to this matter will be most appreciated.”
Minister Ncube is yet to respond to the letter.
When the dispute was brought to the High Court, Milton was contesting the installation of Ephias as Chief Murinye, saying according to the customs and regulations guiding the Murinye chieftainship, the eldest son of a house that would have been nominated to second a chief should assume the chieftainship.
In the case of the sitting Chief Murinye, Milton argued that Ephias, who is younger than him, was installed as chief with the approval of the district and provincial administrators.
Minister Ignatius Chombo, then in his capacity as Local Government Minister, is said to have consented to the installation of Ephias.
Milton further argued that Masvingo District Administrator Mr James Mazvidza and Provincial Administrator Mr Felix Chikovo even took part in some of the meetings, where the regulations that guide the election of a chief in the Murinye clan were not followed.
He further claimed that Ephias was eventually installed as Chief Murinye despite the irregularities that he claims were not consistent with the election of chiefs under the Murinye clan.
The Murinye chieftainship rotates among three families namely Vushe, Munodawafa and Mutikani.
After the death of Chief Mudarikwa Murinye of the Vushe clan a few years ago, it was the turn of the eldest son in the Munodawafa family to assume the reins.
Milton alleged that Ephias, who is the third oldest son, was installed as chief to his disadvantage.