Zimbabwe: Rights of Shangani Must Be Protected - Lawyer

Chiredzi — Chief Tshovani's bid to reclaim lost territory is not motivated by self interest but is in line with the rights of the minority Shangani people in Zimbabwe.

This was the submission made by Hlaisi Mundau's attorney in the Chiredzi Civil Court on Monday.

Chief Tshovani is fighting to regain four wards which were ceded to newly installed Chief Neromwe, Clemence Madzingo, in what is widely believed to be gross state sanctioned tribalism.

Over the years, these areas have been under the Tshovani chieftainship and the decision to parcel them out to Chief Neromwe has unsettled the VaTsonga chief who sought redress in the courts.

He won an interdict to stop his rival's installation but the event went ahead in August this year.

Despite stiff opposition to his rule, Chief Neromwe managed to take over the contested areas, thanks to a peace order which he obtained a few weeks ago.

Jerry Masiya who represented Chief Tshovani in court said claiming the land was an exercise of their rights as Shangani people who were marginalised.

"As it stands Chief Tshovani is still a chief in all these wards and (to say he is) illegitimate is constitutionally wrong," said Masiya.

On the other hand, Chief Neromwe is arguing he was constitutionally installed chief and any attempt to reverse the decision should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

He is seeking to have the matter dismissed on technical grounds.

Magistrate Roger Mawarire will on the 6th of December deliver his ruling on preliminary matters raised by the two warring parties.

Chief Tshovani told the CAJ News that he was abiding by the law and was currently not conducting any meetings in the disputed areas.

"I will comply with the Peace Order until the ruling on the 6th of December," said Chief Tshovani.

A Chief Tshovani sympathiser who sat next to this reporter in court intimated that elderly chief who has been battling Chief Neromwe for months had lost weight.

"Chief Tshovani lost his weight because of this matter, surely he is worried about his territory that has been lost," said the concerned man.

Outside court, a large crowd demonstrated using banners and placards in support with Chief Tshovani.

They accused Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiredzi West constituency Farai Musikavanhu of using his political muscle to get rid of Chief Tshovani and make sure his rival was in charge of all the wards.

"Musikavanhu is planting the non existing chieftainship of Neromwe," said a demonstrator.

Musikavanhu was also accused of sidelining those sympathising with Chief Tshovani, including denying them food aid provided by government a couple weeks ago.

The MP did not comment on the issue when contacted on the social media WhatsApp platform on Monday.

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