Chief takes on Zimbabwean government over a mountain

19 May 2019 - 00:00 By JAMES THOMPSON

A chief is taking on the Zimbabwe government over a mountain he says is not getting the recognition it deserves "as the birthplace of the Ndebele nation".
Controversial Paramount Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe of the Ndiweni people is taking on the cause of Ntabazinduna Mountain.
The name means "the mountain that belongs to chiefs" and it was where traditional rituals have been carried out, overseen by the chiefs, since the early 19th century.
The chief wants the mountain to be acknowledged as a monument "because it holds historical value".
The government plans to expropriate Tabas Induna farm, where the mountain stands, and build houses there. This would cause the mountain to lose its significance, the chief said.
"I shall continue to fight injustice as and when I see it being perpetrated against my people," he told the Sunday Times.
His late father, Khayisa Ndiweni, whom he succeeded in 2014, gave former president Robert Mugabe a tough time, too. Now, as chief of the Ndiweni people, Nhlanhlayamangwe says he is the last line of defence to preserve his people's culture and heritage from political intrusion.
Born Felix Ndiweni, the 54-year-old chief was educated at the elite Falcon College private school in Zimbabwe before being sent to England to study accounting. He later worked as an auditor for the Waltham Forest council in London.
Zanu-PF youths this week allegedly accosted the chief in Bulawayo's city centre. He said they wanted to take his government-issued car "because of his waywardness".
He doused the car with petrol, he said, and threatened to set it alight, at which point the group fled.But Zanu-PF claims the chief staged the attack by the youths."It is a fake accident," party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said.Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chair Richard Moyo said: "He must just join politics and leave the chieftaincy. In pursuit of a political agenda, he has chosen to advocate for the suffering of the people instead of working towards their development and unity."The War Veterans' Association, a militant wing within Zanu-PF, accused the chief of "tampering with unfamiliar waters"."This so-called chief is starting a fire that he is not going to be able to quench but obviously he is playing to the gallery," said the deputy minister of defence and war veterans' welfare, Victor Matemadanda.Chief Ndiweni said he would not be swayed by perks."My father said I should be wary of being led by the nose by government people because they feel by giving you things like cars, you are now their stooge," the chief said. "That is who I am and that is what I will stand for, no matter what happens. I will not be silenced."My people are the power. I need to confront these injustices and unless and until the people of Ntabazinduna get what they want, the struggle will continue."

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