Chief Mvuthu, who died’s daughter Ms Silibaziso Mlotshwa could be one foot closer to succeeding her father after the Chiefs Council endorsed her.
Chief Mvuthu, born Nyangayezizwe Mlotshwa of Mvuthu area outside Victoria Falls, died in March 2014 aged 61.
Headman Mr Bishop Matata Sibanda has been acting Chief to date.
The late Chief left behind three daughters, including Ms Mlotshwa, now 26 years and married with one child.
There has been a succession wrangle within the family which vowed not to allow Silibaziso to succeed her father claiming her ascendancy would be contrary to the Nguni culture in which its chieftaincy is rooted.
The family said the eldest son takes over.
In that regard, the family nominated the late chief’s brother Mr Sanders Mlotshwa as the successor in December 2014 but Ms Mlotshwa challenged that in court arguing that she is the one who should take over from her father.
The family was divided with one faction in support of Mr Mlotshwa while others backed Silibaziso saying she is being victimised just because she is a woman.
At some point, the High Court nullified the nomination of Mr Mlotshwa as a potential successor and ordered the Hwange District Development Coordinator (DDC)’s office to restart the selection process concerning human rights.
Mr Mlotshwa is the son of the late chief’s brother Simon who is also late.
In 2020 the Chiefs Council sent a delegation comprising Chief Sikhobokhobo of Nkayi, Chief Nekatambe of Hwange and Chief Tategulu of Tsholotsho on behalf of the Matabeleland North Provincial Chief’s Assembly to attend a family meeting and have an appreciation of the wrangle.
The Matabeleland North Chiefs Assembly recommended to the Chiefs Council after the meeting that Ms Mlotshwa was fit to succeed her father.
That recommendation has also been communicated to the Zimbabwe Gender Commission which has been following the case.
Gender Commission chief executive Mrs Virginia Muwanigwa confirmed the development.
“Yes, we received the information that the Chiefs Council has endorsed her but the process is not yet finished. The next process will be for her to be recommended to the President who will decide and we look forward to him acceding,” said Mrs Muwanigwa.
She said the Gender Commission did not influence the process but merely monitored it.
She implored all parties to be guided by the Constitution.
“We are happy and as Gender Commission, we were coming in because it’s constitutional that we have equal opportunities in accessing political, economic and social development across gender.”
Ms Mlotshwa referred questions to her lawyer Mr Thulani Ndlovu of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners who confirmed the endorsement but said it was not yet time to celebrate.
He said the endorsement is a milestone constitutional achievement.
“This acknowledgement that she is the rightful heir by the Chiefs Council is not a victory for her but an important constitutional development for Zimbabwe and even beyond,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said Ms Mlotshwa is prepared to make peace with the whole of her family for peace to prevail as infighting stifles development and tranquillity within the community.
“She believes that it is time now to concentrate on development and peacebuilding in line with government policies to leave no one behind. She is calling upon the family to unite and for everyone to work towards community development.
“The matter has now moved to the realm of local government,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said Ms Mlotshwa is happy about the development and responsibility that lies ahead to spearhead the development of her local community in line with the Government development agenda.
Mr said if she succeeds her father, she will add to the few female chiefs in the country, and this is an achievement in terms of gender as women have demonstrated that they can lead.
President of the Chiefs Council Chief Charumbira could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of the country.
His deputy Chief Mtshane Khumalo of Bubi could not be drawn into commenting saying only Chief Charumbira is allowed to speak about issues resolved by the Chiefs Council. -State Media