Chief of Umguza District Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni has been dethroned by government after recommendations by the Matebeleland North Chiefs Provincial Assembly.
The decision follows a squabble in the chief’s family over who should be sitting on the throne between him and his elder brother. Ministry for local governance released the following statement: “Please be advised that His Excellency, the President has, as per your recommendation and in line with the provisions of Section 283 (ii) of the Constitution and subsection 2 (a) (i) of Section 3 of The Traditional Leaders Act (Chapter 29:17) removed Felix Ndiweni from the office of Chief Ndiweni in Umguza District of Matebeleland North province, with effect from November 30 2019.” Mr Joram Ndiweni, the elder brother, has contested the throne and claims that he is the rightful heir of the chieftainship.
Traditionally, the throne is handed down to the eldest living son of the predecessor. However, in exceptional cases where the eldest son’s character is not virtuous, the throne is handed down to the more competent son. Chief Felix Ndiweni has thus defended his chieftainship based on his character and ability to serve the Ndebele clan of Ntabazinduna.
According to him, his brother is being sponsored by political powers to contest the throne. He claims that his public criticism of the ruling party is what led to his expulsion. In an interview with journalist Trevor Ncube, Chief Felix Ndiweni said that economic problems in the country will never be solved until those in the ruling party responsible for the Ndebele genocide (Gukurahundi) faced the wrath of the law.
He claimed that the only way for the country to reform was to have these past injustices corrected. Following his expulsion, the government has ceased payments of his allowances and all property including a vehicle given to him by government has been repossessed. A go fund me page was started by his followers to raise funds to buy the former chief a vehicle.