By A Correspondent- The long standing feud between Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira and newly installed Chief Nemamwa recently escalated at a funeral when representatives from the two chieftaincies nearly exchanged blows over legitimacy issues.
During Serina Mangoma’s funeral in Nyoka Village near Chief Charumbira’s homestead last weekend, Charumbira clansmen disrupted the funeral programme and threatened to bash the Nemamwa chieftaincy representative Munyaradzi Mureyi who had been asked to give a speech.
The director of ceremonies called Mureyi to give a speech on behalf of Chief Nemamwa since the deceased was from the Nemamwa clan, much to the displeasure of the Charumbira clansmen who insisted they did not recognize the Nemamwa chieftainship.
Speaking to TellZim News after the incident, Mureyi said the program had been progressing smoothly until Mureyi was called him to speak on behalf of Chief Nemamwa and that is when Cephas Marashanye who is originally from Nemamwa but is a Charumbira sympathiser threatened to bash him if he speaks.
“Marashanye stood up and told me not to speak, at first I thought he wanted to speak himself since he is originally from Nemamwa but is a Charumbira sympathiser. I told him to speak instead but he said there was no Chief Nemamwa.
He then came and pushed me around and other people from Chief Charumbira’s side rose and threatened joined in shouting that there was no Nemamwa. I was pushed from around and I think it was a pre planed thing.
I later on managed to escape and the Director of ceremonies had to skip the chief’s part. I have since reported the matter to the police.”said Mureyi
Chief Charumbira confirmed the incident and said he was not there but saw videos of the clash and said the incident was not a new thing.
“I can confirm that there was an incident at a funeral involving people from Charumbira and Nemamwa. I was not there but I got videos of what happened and it is normal where there are chieftaincy issues.
Chief Charumbira rubbished the resuscitation of Nemamwa chieftainship saying it was a fraud which has no legal basis to support it.
“However, the issue emanates from the politics at play that seeks to make Nemamwa a chief. The move is irregular and illegal at law. It has no merit and they have no basis whatsoever,” said Charumbira.
He went on to say they were ready to contest it up to the highest court.
“We as the Charumbira people will contest that at the highest level. There are no records to show that Nemamwa was once a chief so there is nothing to revive. However, It is normal for a headman or village head to dream to become a Chief and the Nemamwa people were also dreaming.
“Nemamwa has been Headman since time immemorial and no one is interfering with that. If he wants to be a chief, he has to follow protocol and see if there is any basis for that. He was supposed to come to me as the Chief to tell me or go through the government which in turn would notify me,” said Charumbira.
Masvingo Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC), Dr Jefta Sakupwanya said he was not aware of the incident but said incidents of that nature are common between rival chiefs and revealed that the installation of Chief Nemamwa was imminent.
He said the installation of Nemamwa was stalled by the covid-19 induced lockdown saying if the situation improves they will sit with the chief’s council and deliberate on the way forward.
“It is quite normal to have such incidents. We however do not encourage people to engage in violence. We are waiting for the Covid-19 induced lockdown to be lifted, then we meet with the provincial chief’s council to discuss the way forward.
“We are also waiting for a team from Harare that will draw the boundary lines between the feuding chiefs,” said Dr Sakupwanya.
The Charumbira clansmen are not new to controversy as they have been involved in battles against Bere clansmen before and after installation of Chief Bere.
A few years ago, government resuscitated Bere chieftaincy, a move that saw Charumbira losing a large portion of his land to Bere.
The revival and elevation of Nemamwa from headman to chief further threatens the survival of Charumbira who now presides over a few wards which lowers him to a headman.
The Second Republic is on a drive to solve colonial historical ‘anomalies’ which they say will address the case of Charumbira and Nemamwa, where the former was allegedly given land by the latter and therefore cannot be chief while the one who gave him land is a headman.
The Nemamwa clan has since nominated Tranos Manjiva as their Chief and is awaiting installation.
Government has also restored the Neromwe chieftainship and reclaimed their land from Chief Tshovani in Chiredzi.
Early white settlers on numerous acts of sabotage had abolished some chieftainships and pegged their land for white farmers while the native inhabitants were moved to other places.