A chieftainship wrangle in Mbe-rengwa has sucked in President Robert Mugabe and Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister, Ignatious Chombo. In a High Court application filed recently, Efanosi Shoko contested the Mudavanhu chieftainship that was conferred on Amen Mudavanhu, contrary to recommendations.
Amen is the first respondent while the Mberengwa Administrator is cited as the second respondent, with Chombo and Mugabe cited as the third and fourth respondents respectively.
Shoko states that he was nominated to be the substantive Chief Mudavanhu in 2010 following the death of Komboni Wushe who had been the chief. He however said he was surprised that while awaiting his official appointment, Amen was announced as the new substantive chief.
He said, on March 10 2010 a meeting was held at Zibanga business centre in Mudavanhu area, Mberengwa, and was chaired by the acting District Administrator, identified only as Chivanga. He was then nominated for appointment as substantive Chief Mudavanhu.
"Immediately thereafter, I was asked to submit finger prints and was vetted by the CID, police and had my criminal record checked and advised that my papers would be processed and submitted to the President," Efanosi states in the court papers.
"Whilst still waiting my appointment, I was surprised on the 25th of January 2012 when the Mberengwa District Administrator convened a meeting at Zibanga business centre whereupon I then learnt that the chieftainship was now to be given to Amen Mudavanhu."
Efanosi stated that he believed himself to be the legitimate nominee for the chieftainship and wants the court to help him restore his legitimate appointment. Adonia Shoko, son to Komboni Ushe, who has been acting-Chief Mudavanhu since the death of his father, also confirmed that Efanosi Shoko had been nominated as substantive chief in 2006.
"I confirm that in accordance to custom, the applicant was nominated and is eligible to be the next substantive chief as agreed by the family members," he said in a supporting affidavit.
"I also confirm that the meeting held on the 25th January 2012, was contrary to our custom, as there is no provision in our custom to allow the removal of a duly nominated chief without a just cause. I also confirm that the appointment of Amen Mudavanhu was not in accordance with custom, as he was not nominated by the clansman, but was only imposed by officers from the District Administrator's Office."
Sources in Mberengwa said the removal of Efanosi Shoko as Chief Mudavanhu could be politically-motivated as Efanosi is suspected to be a supporter of the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Appointment out of step with tradition, says Lawyer
Efanosi Shoko's lawyer, Brian Dube of Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners told The Standard that it was out of tradition that a chief can be replaced while still alive, hence his client had decided to challenge the appointment in the courts.
"In our tradition, a chief can only be replaced after his death and we find it amazing why Efanos will be appointed Chief and later on someone else is reappointed," Dube said.