THE legal fight between Minister of Home Affairs and Culture Dr Obert Mpofu and Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni got a little nastier last Friday, when the latter teamed up with two other chiefs from Matabeleland North Province roundly accusing him together with Zanu-PF’s chairman from that province Richard Moyo of throwing spanners in their works.
It seems indeed, to be a cultural affair as custodians of culture lock horns with the minister responsible for culture!
In court papers obtained by B-Metro Chief Ndiweni (Ntabazinduna), Chief Nevile Ndondo (Mbembesi) and Chief Deli Asher Mabhena (Nyamandlovu) claimed Minister Mpofu who is also Member of the House of Assembly for Umguza Constituency was abusing his duties by sending his agents and thugs to harass them as punishment for refusing to dabble in his “succession politics”.
The trio are seeking a peace order against the minister, Cde Moyo and his alleged eight agents. Described as a feared and “very” powerful politician, Minister Mpofu was allegedly harassing them through derogatory insults, threats of violence, abduction and execution.
In their application submitted at the Bulawayo Civil Court, the chiefs are seeking the intervention of the courts in order to be allowed to freely execute their duties — that is to supervise headmen and village heads among other things as mentioned by Section 5 of the Traditional Leaders Act Chapter 29:17.
The alleged “cronies” claimed to be working in cahoots with Minister Mpofu to “fix” the three chiefs are Moses Siphuma, Jonathan Sibanda-Nkanyezi, Remigious Kombani, Beverely Sibanda-Mthombeni, Sharon Ncube, David Moyo, Paul Masina and Kholwani Mbambo.
The trio’s application for a peace order came after the High Court in Bulawayo dismissed Chief Ndiweni’s submission in which he was accusing Minister Mpofu of working with Cde Moyo to seize vehicles and irrigation equipment worth $600 000 belonging to the Umguza
Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT).
“The first respondent who is a local Member of Parliament and Minister of Home Affairs has abused his office and authority by constantly throwing spanners into the Chiefs’ works using his agents and thugs who include second respondent (Cde Moyo) and other eight respondents.
“He has verbally attacked the applicants in various political and social foras at York House in Bulawayo and in Umguza District. Sometime back, he sent bandits of thugs and hoodlums to harass and torment the applicants and villagers who refuse to dabble in his succession politics,” reads part of the trio’s summons.
They claimed attempts to report him (Minister Mpofu) to the police had yielded nothing as police officers were afraid of the politics at play.
“A few weeks ago the respondents met at York House and plotted to unleash harm against the applicants and also to disrupt the work of the Umguza Community Share Ownership Trust which is led by the applicants. They went on a rampage and forcibly harassed and harangued the applicants and members of the Trust.
“The applicants and other villagers have reached the point where fear for our safety and security in the light of endless threats of violence, harm and death directed to us by the first respondent, his assignees, thugs and or agents who include some of the respondents”.
The three chiefs implored the court to order the respondents to stop death threats and use of vulgar language against them.
The matter which was supposed to be heard last Friday was, however, postponed to 22 June to enable the respondents to prepare their defence.