SOUTHERN NEWS | Ndebele King installation case drags on

BULAWAYO - Proponents of the Ndebele King have remained adamant not to give up on their push to install Lobengula’s heir despite government condemning the act as unconstitutional.

Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu recently told Southern News that as a minister in charge of culture and heritage, he would not tolerate people who jump the gun when the Constitution is clear about the issue of traditional leaders.

Mpofu also pointed out that the idea of installing the King was being supported by very few traditional leaders in the Matabeleland region.

“There are very few chiefs supporting the idea. It’s some traditional leaders, not most of them. In fact, in the whole Matabeleland North, there is no chief who supports the idea. I have a list of those who support the idea,” Mpofu said.

Early this year, the High court dismissed the urgent application by lawyer Dumisani Dube on behalf of South Africa-based self-imposed Ndebele crown prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo, ruling that it was illegal to install a king under the Zimbabwe Constitution.

However, the chief executive officer of the Royal Crown Trust (Crown Council) Effie Ncube told Southern News this week that the minister was offside on his assertions as they were not going to give up.

“We are not at all changing our position that the Constitution does not prohibit any people establishing an office of a traditional leader of their choice as an expression of their cultural beliefs,” Ncube said.

“On the contrary, the Constitution recognises the diversity of cultural beliefs. Yes, such beliefs may be politically inconvenient to some, but they are not illegal in anyway.”

Ncube added: “A Ndebele chief who opposes the installation of a King would be opposed to the Ndebele culture he has a constitutional obligation to protect. I can state without fear of contradiction that the minister cannot cite a single chief of good standing who will oppose his people’s choice.”

Asked if ever they were making any engagements with government over the issue, Ncube said everything was taking shape.

“I wish to take this opportunity to assure our people that their King is going to take office very soon.

“A lot is being done to clear the hurdles. The choice of who will be King has not changed as no one except the people can do that,” he said.

With regards to disagreements over who is supposed to be the real Ndebele King, Ncube said that was a sign of democracy.

“Disagreements on who should be King are healthy and democratic. We are happy that the 0,1 percent who disagrees with the people’s choice, that ... Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo, have conducted themselves with respect and dignity.”

After the court blocked Bulelani’s coronation, lawyer Dube took aim at the courts which he accused of missing the point as its findings were “improper.”

“In my view the court’s finding was improper because there is nowhere in our statute that is Traditional leaders Act and the Constitution of Zimbabwe which prohibits the installation of a king by the chiefs who are empowered by both the Traditional leaders Act to revive customs, culture and heritage of Ndebele people, a position supported by the Constitution on the role and duties of Chiefs in sections 281 and 282,” he said.

“More so, sections 63 on the rights to culture is clear and as such there is nothing unconstitutional by the act of coronating a king by the chiefs who are the custodians of our traditional practices, customs, heritage and culture,” he said.

Zinwa, Hwange council in nasty fight over sewer

HWANGE - A nasty fight has broken out between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and the Hwange Local Board over sewer management.

The latest battle has, however, been ignited by a public notice which was recently issued by the Hwange Local Board signed by town secretary Ndumiso Mdlalose.

The notice titled Hand over of sewer management to Hwange Local Board from Zinwa effective July 1, 2018, effectively blames the sewer challenges in the coal mining town on the national water management authority.

This, however, did not go down well with Zinwa authorities who immediately dismissed the public notice, describing it as disturbing and misleading.

On the other hand, the local board refused to be intimidated declaring that it was Zinwa which was actually at fault.

“In the notices, the local board falsely claims that Zinwa has been in charge of both water and sewer in the town yet the local board has been collecting sewer charges from residents and yet failing to provide the attendant sewer services,” said Marjorie Munyonga, Zinwa’s corporate communications and marketing manager.

“A simple perusal of bills issued by the local authority will reveal that Hwange Local Board collects sewer charges while Zinwa bills will also show that Zinwa does not charge sewer services to Hwange residents,” she said.

“Zinwa therefore find the conduct of the Hwange Local Board quite disturbing and as an affront to the current efforts by Zinwa and other stakeholders such as the Hwange Residents Association to find a lasting solution to the town’s water and sewer issues.

“Up to this moment, Zinwa has failed to figure out the exact motive behind this smear campaign by the local authority,” Munyonga said.

In response, Mdlalose stood by the public notice which he said represented the correct position of the local board.

“It’s common knowledge that Zinwa are the ones who run the water and sewer management system in Hwange,” Mdlalose told Southern News.

“There is nothing amiss with the public notice that we issued. In any case you must be aware that there is a pending case that is being handled by Parliamentary Portfolio committee (on Environment, Water, Climate and Hospitality Industry) to the effect that Zinwa should hand over sewer management to the Local Board,” he said.

Asked about the sewer charges the Local Board has been collecting from residents, Mdlalose said they had nothing to do with Zinwa.

While Zinwa said on July 1 they will only be handing over documents relating to sewer management to the council, Mdlalose said that was impossible as the event will mean the “complete handover of the sewer management system”.

Hwange Residents Association chair Lucky Daka, who last year petitioned Parliament over the matter, told this publication that residents were equally confused regarding who manages sewer between Zinwa and Hwange Local Board, a development they said had a negative impact on service delivery.

Bulawayo Town Clerk, councillors war far from over

BULAWAYO - The war between Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube and councillors is far from over with the latter accusing the former of jumping the gun in his conduct.

On April 6 this year, Dube — who is under fire from councillors — wrote a letter to government seeking protection and calling on the responsible ministry to stop the city fathers from interfering with his work.

This was after the councillors had earlier on ganged up to issue him with a 30-day ultimatum to implement key council resolutions or face the axe. The councillors accused the town clerk of shutting out investors and making potential investors lose confidence in the city’s call for investment among other things.

However, in a latest sign of a sustained conflict the councillors have also penned another letter to the ministry’s permanent secretary arguing that it was within their rights to ensure quality service delivery.

In the process, the councillors also accused the town clerk of being out of bounds.

“From the outset, it is important to make it clear that as councillors ..., we are conscious of the need to act in terms of the strict letter of the law as we go about our business of ensuring we bring world-class service delivery to the City of Bulawayo,” reads part of the letter referenced Intervention on procurement procedures.

“We are further concerned that you seem to have accepted the notion that we have vested interests in the procurement processes other than our interest as duly elected councillors.”

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA) coordinator Roderick Fayayo recently said only a forensic investigation was the solution to the squabbling in the council.

“As it is as residents we don’t know which is which. A forensic audit from either the Auditor-General or any independent and trusted entity would lay bare to residents who are critical stakeholders, what exactly is happening.

“It is from that audit that residents will be able to determine the course of action to take,” he said.

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