It's war in the Zulu royal house over throne succession: Buthelezi

24 June 2021 - 16:10
Traditional prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Thursday a meeting between warring factions of the Zulu royal family did not go ahead because he advised against it. File photo.
Traditional prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Thursday a meeting between warring factions of the Zulu royal family did not go ahead because he advised against it. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Royal decorum has been thrown out of the window and it is now open war among Zulu royalty. That's the observation of the nation's prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Buthelezi said at a press conference on Thursday that tensions among the warring sides were so serious “that had we not achieved this stage of constitutional development as a country, it is clear there would be war”.

At stake is the throne left vacant by the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini.

While the late king left a last will and testament naming his wife, Queen Mantfombi who has also since died as regent, and though her will left the throne to their eldest son Prince Misuzulu, other members of the royal family have questioned the authenticity of the late king's will and are seeking a court interdict to halt the coronation of Prince Misuzulu.

But the traditional prime minister, who is backing Prince Misuzulu despite objections from other members of the family, maintained that a king does not need “a piece of paper” to be recognised.

Buthelezi on Thursday revealed that a meeting between warring factions did not go ahead because he advised against it. He said Prince Misuzulu had notified him that Princess Nombuso of KwaKhethomthandayo had asked to see him.

Buthelezi said advising Prince Misuzulu is part of his role as the traditional prime minister and he did so with no malicious intent.

“In light of the present litigation, His Majesty King Misuzulu was compelled to decline travelling to KwaKhethomthandayo royal palace yesterday [Wednesday] to meet Princess Nombuso, who is among those contesting his authority. As the matter is sub judice, the law prevents such meetings from taking place,” Buthelezi said.

Princess Nombuso was part of a news conference which announced the end of the mourning period on Saturday.

It was also at this event where members of the royal family, including the late king's siblings Prince Mbonisi and Princess Thembi, said the family was only now ready to discuss succession.

Buthelezi said subsequent to his advice that Prince Misuzulu decline Princess Nombuso's invitation for a meeting, he received a message accusing him of being divisive.

“Princess Thembi accused me of preventing His Majesty from meeting his sister. She implied that I am separating the two and questioned my motive in doing so, as though I am the reason for the friction in the royal family.”

He denied this, adding that Prince Misuzulu whom Buthelezi has consistently referred to as the king was “not an infant”, signalling that he was able to make his own decisions.

Buthelezi added that legal counsel representing the prince had lauded his advice.

It also emerged at the press conference that the part of the Zulu royal family contesting the throne preferred Prince Simakade Zulu to succeed the late King Goodwill.

According to Buthelezi, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala has been asked, in an affidavit by the side opposing Prince Misuzulu, “to provide the same level of security to Prince Simakade as is provided to His Majesty King Misuzulu”.

“It is also averred that Prince Simakade Zulu is the rightful heir to the throne, His Majesty King Misuzulu KaZwelithini is consistently referred to as Prince Misuzulu and it is made quite clear that he is not considered to be king of the Zulu nation,” Buthelezi added.

Buthelezi said his duty remained that of “navigating the way towards stability and unity”.

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