Court challenge seeks to dethrone acting chief

HARARE - An acting Gokwe chief has been dragged to court for clinging to the post even after termination of his term as temporary chief.

In line with custom, Mike Katyavazungu was chosen as the interim Chief Nemangwe after the death of the substantive chief in 2009.

But it has been nine years since the mourning period lapsed, with Katyavazungu continuing to exercise the duties of Chief Nemangwe.

His subjects have since written to the president of the Chief’s Council Fortune Charumbira highlighting their grievances on Katyavazungu’s continued execution of the chieftaincy duties.

The issue has also been brought to the attention of the Culture minister Abednico Ncube.

After failing to get redress, the subjects have now sought legal recourse in the Gokwe courts.

The suit is being led by Mugomba Nemananga. In his court challenge, he cited the decision by the district administrator (DA) Edwin Mashindi that Katyavazungu must rescind the post and pave way for a legitimate leader.

Mashindi in 2015 ruled that Katyavazungu’s attempt to cling to the chieftaincy was wrong.

“It has come to the attention of this office that you are still holding customary courts inspite of termination of your term as acting chief,” Mashindi said in a letter to Katyavazungu.

“Please be advised that such actions are ultra vires the provisions of the relevant act and are deemed criminal in the true sense of the word. This has to stop forthwith.

“I will not hesitate to invoke the full wrath of the law should there be a perpetuation of same as you have no locus standi to be handling such.”

The court case suffered a false start after Nemananga’s defence lawyer Josiah Matumba arrived late for the court hearing on December 6. The matter was put before the court and later on postponed.

The matter is set to be heard again on January 2, 2017.

“This is an application for an interdict under Case No GL 107/16 following the dismissal by the magistrate, the reason being the absence of both parties.

“The matter was set down for hearing on 6th December 2016. The applicant (Mugomba Nemananga) attended court on that day.

“However, the applicant’s legal practitioners delayed in arriving at court and the matter was put before court and later on dismissed. The applicant did not say anything in court or notify the court of his presence leading to the matter being dismissed, albeit him being in attendance,” the Harare-based lawyer said.

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