Chief Who Criticised ED’s Food-Aid-Stop, Dies
13 May 2024
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Chief Shana, Prominent Critic of Food Aid Deprivation, Passes Away

By Farai D Hove | The Hwange community and broader Zimbabwean society are in mourning following the death of Chief Shana of Jambezi, a vocal advocate for government collaboration with NGOs to address food shortages in Matabeleland North. Chief Shana, born Jonah Neluswi, passed away on Saturday night at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo, where he had been receiving treatment for the past three weeks.

Chief Shana

Chief Shana had been at the forefront of urging the Zimbabwean government to allow non-governmental organizations to help provide food aid, especially as his district faces a severe drought this year, worsening the plight of his people in one of Zimbabwe’s poorest regions.

“We received the news of his death with sadness as we thought he would recover. He was one of our senior leaders whom we all looked up to in Matabeleland North, and you would remember he was provincial chair of the Chiefs Council for about 15 years,” remarked Chief Mtshane Khumalo of Bubi, President of the Chiefs Council.

Chief Shana’s leadership extended beyond his local jurisdiction, having served as a representative of Chiefs in the Senate, where he was a formidable advocate for the rights and welfare of traditional communities. “He was not a chief for Hwange only but for the whole province and nation as he was also at some point for many years a representative of Chiefs in the Senate,” Chief Mtshane added.

Richard Moyo, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, expressed the region’s profound loss, stating, “Following his death, we have lost so much as traditional leaders. He occupied several senior positions in the province and national level.”

Consultations between the family and government regarding burial arrangements are currently underway, reflecting the high regard in which Chief Shana was held across political and social spectrums.

As the community reflects on Chief Shana’s legacy, his calls for collaborative efforts to tackle food insecurity, amplified by the impacts of climate change and frequent droughts, continue to resonate. His advocacy for involving NGOs in aid distribution underscored his commitment to the survival and dignity of his people, marking him as a leader deeply connected to the needs of his community.