Opinion: Chief Ndiweni removal is out of Smith’s Playbook
Chief Ndiweni or Felix Nhanhla Ndiweni of Umguza district in Matabeleland North Province has been arrested this year, he has been bullied by the state and now in the final straw. That his been deposed or removed by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. That’s all because of his recent actions. The irony is that the state is now doing the same as the ones they was liberated from.
They are already known for the same tactics of oppression, arbitrary arrest, abductions and whatnot of court orders from the Rotten Row. Therefore, the acts of this week to depose Chief Ndiweni is just similar to the acts of Ian Smith, as he deposed the ones who stood against him. Now President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his cronies copies Ian Smith.
As they are initially following the same program as Smith:
“Incidentally, the chiefs and headmen are government employees, paid regular salaries, and therefore, expected to carry out government policy no matter how much they may happen to disagree with it. Not surprisingly, they have found very little to disagree with the government on. Chief Tangwena, who has been feuding with the government recently over tribal land which the government had declared European land,is probably an exception” (Vincent Khapoya – ‘African Political Actors in post-U.D.I. Rhodesia: Resistance or Accomodation’, Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 4(2), 1973).
So, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has the same expectations as the Rhodesian Front (RF). They are acting alike with the suppression and deposing of chief Ndiweni. They deposed Tangwena in 1969 and now the same happens 40 years later.
This was even said about this back-then by Dr. Elisha Chambadzwa Mutesa, who was on charged by the state for saying this in a speech on the 1st November 1969: “There is in this district (Makoni), a king, that is King Makoni, and I guess, for his own reasons, he has accepted the name, Chief, which is inferior to that of King or Mambo Makoni. It’s not enough –listen to me –it’ s not enough to be called, King, unless you can rule your domain. It’ s not enough to be called King when you have to solicit from an outsider who gives you twenty pieces of silver per month. And then with these twenty pieces of silver you sell your own people. Some time ago, we had Rekayi Tangwena, Mambo Tangwena (a former ruler, deposed by the Smith regime). There is a man who was made ruler by the African themselves. He had no ring around his neck or marriage with Smith. (Applause)” (Washington Notes on Africa – Volume. 11, Number 2 – ‘Cabral in Washington’).
So, now that ZANU-PF have followed the same paradigm. Removing or deposing on Chief because he spoke out against them. Since he defended the rights of citizens and therefore gotten into trouble. Both legal and personal, the state are taking away his salary, his car and regalia. While they are anticipating to put someone else in as a chief. Whoever that might be, will be in the shadow of Felix. Since his the man and the Chief of Ndiweni.
Seemingly, the state are now taking notes from Ian Smith. Who would know that they would repeat the sins of old like this. From the ones they liberate themselves from, they are copying the tactics of them. As they showing the oppressive behaviour, similar impunity and lack of respect for freedom, liberty and free speech.
The Chief is allowed to speak, but supposed to promote government protocol. The Chief isn’t supposed to oppose the President nor his leadership, even if the hospitals are collapsing or possible famine. Still, the Chief is supposed to praise ED and his policies, even when it destroys the state, a little by little.
The acts of deposing Chief Ndiweni is just a brutal and cruel act, to take away someone’s official title and office, because he dares to speak up against you. That is just like the Smith government of the past. Yet another proof, that the liberators becomes just oppressors they overthrew. Congratulations, and kudos. You are copying the ones whose ills shouldn’t be copied. Peace.