MUTARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sucked in the chieftainship wrangle of acting Chief Saunyama of Nyanga that has seen the protracted delay in the appointment of a substantive chief.
Since 2011 up to date, Victor Saunyama has been the acting chief, in-variance with the customary succession principles of the Saunyama chieftainship.
Saunyama is a known confident to the former Zanu PF youth leader, Kudzai Chipanga.
In 2017, Saunyama allegedly benefited from infamous loot of US$400 000 Zanu PF youth residential fund meant to service residential stands in Chipinge.
Saunyama also torched a storm in April 2018 ahead of the general elections when he urged his subjects to vote for Zanu PF, declaring that his area was a no go area for the opposition.
Lovemore Madongonda, who resides within the jurisdiction of Chief Saunyama, has declared substantive interest in the matter by making a Mutare High Court application seeking an order against Victor Saunyama who is the first respondent and Nyanga District Administrator cited as the second respondent.
Madongonda also cited the Minister of Local Government, July Moyo and Mnangagwa as third and fourth respondents.
In his founding affidavit Madongonda said: “I have been advised that the chief’s appointment is done in terms of the Traditional Leaders Act (Chapter 29:17) by the fourth respondent (Mnangagwa) and that the third respondent (Minister of Local Government), in consultation with the appropriate persons, nominates a person for appointment as chief by the first respondent.”
Madongonda argued that the appointment of Victor Saunyama was on a temporary basis, awaiting the appointment of a substantive chief.
“Upon the appointment of the first respondent as the Acting Chief, it was agreed that he was only going to be the Acting Chief for a period of two years from the date of his appointment and thereafter a substantive Chief Saunyama would be appointed inline with the customary principles of succession of the Saunyama Chieftaincy,” read the founding affidavit.
“Ever since 2011 up to date, the first respondent is still the Acting Chief Saunyama. A substantive chief has not been appointed in terms of the provisions of Section 3 of the Traditional Act,” he said.
Madongonda said the delay in the appointment of a substantive chief had caused him to approach the High Court for a compelling order, which orders the Nyanga District Administrator and the Minister of Local Government to cause a meeting of the elders of the Saunyama community to be convened in-order to investigate and deliberate on the customary principles of succession to the Saunyama chieftainship and thereafter, to elect or nominate a candidate for appointment as Chief Saunyama by the President.
“I have real and substantive interests in this matter since I reside within the jurisdiction of Chief Saunyama’s sphere of influence in Nyanga. Additionally, I was nominated by the late Chief Saunyama to be a headman under his jurisdiction in 2010. I was not eventually appointed in terms of the law since Chief Saunyama later died without proper procedures for my appointment,” Madongonda said.
“Be that as it may, I still have real and substantial interests in this matter since I am a well known resident of Muwi village, which falls under the jurisdiction of Chief Saunyama,” he added.
Madongonda said in nominating the said suitable person, the Nyanga District Administrator and the Minister of Local Government should be compelled to ensure that necessary consultations with the appropriate persons from the Saunyama community are carried out and then the name of the nominated person must be forwarded to the President.