MASVINGO RURAL – The continued tenure of Fortune as Chief Charumbira, hangs in the balance after Government approved investigations into allegations that he is not the legitimate leader after allegedly getting into office through devious means.
Sources close to the matter said President Mugabe personally approved the investigations after Fainos Mihwa, one of the members of a family that lay claim to the chieftainship wrote a letter to the Head of State in November 2016.
Mihwa who belongs to the Mapingure House stated in the letter that three people in Fortune's family; Fortune's grandfather Mhazha, his father Zephania and Fortune have passed the chieftainship from one to the other without respecting the Shona custom where chieftainship moves from one house to another.
Chief Charumbira has been a towering figure in the traditional leadership circles for many years and is the president of the Chiefs' Council and Senator.
Last Wednesday, Government despatched a high powered delegation to Charumbira Business Centre led by Fanuel Mkwaira where it gathered evidence on the claims being made by the Mapingure family.
Chief Fortune Charumbira appears to have become so desperate that he sought postponement of the meeting and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of Culture and Heritage, Dr Thokozile Chitepo had to move the dates to May 1 and June 2017.
Sources said that the threat to Fortune's chieftainship is so dire that he also went to State House and appealed to First Lady Mai Mugabe for her intervention in the matter. The sources said Mai Mugabe dismissed him and said the matter was already being dealt with by the Ministry and told him to go back and wait for the due process.
Mai Mugabe is also said to have told him that the matter had nothing to do with women and she therefore could not help since her portfolio in the party is women affairs.
Charumbira who is widely believed to be a member of Lacoste, a faction in the ruling party supporting Vice President Mnangagwa in the succession politics has also since taken the matter to court seeking an interdict to stop the investigations.
Eight houses that lay claim to the Charumbira chieftainship; the Mututuvari, Mapingure, Mutanha, Mataruse, Mudzimbasekwa, Magura, Muvoni and Madyira attended the meeting on Wednesday and it ran from 11am to 3pm.
A Mirror reporter was later kicked out of the meeting but a cameraman who was with Charumbira was allowed to film the process despite protests by the Mapingure House.
The Mapingure house seemed to have stood alone during the meeting as the majority of headmen appeared to identify with Charumbira. One of the Charumbira supporters initially rejected the hearing process claiming that the head of the Government delegation Mkwaira was an interested party because he once clashed with Charumbira when both of them were still working together at the Ministry.
Mkwaira however, stood his ground and said that he had been tasked by the permanent secretary to carry out the investigations and he was not going to be stopped by the Charumbira families.
During the meeting there was a fierce clash with Charumbira supporters accusing the Mapingure family of being MDC T supporters. The Mapingure Family however, hit back and said that the matter was not a political one and labelling one house Zanu PF or MDC T was neither here nor there.
The Mapingire House said it was supposed to have landed the chieftainship during the time of the liberation struggle but failed because the colonial government accused it of supporting Zanla forces and feeding "terrorists". The House also claimed that Fortune's father, Zephania was actually protected and looked after by the Rhodesian forces.
They further argued that Shona custom was different from Ndebele custom where chieftainship is passed from father to son.
"When Zephania died, Fortunate his son was asked to act on behalf of his father for six months. After six months the DA who was there, Gwafa asked that we give him someone and we gave him Dick to be installed as the chief and his fingerprints were taken by the Police for him to be given the Chieftainship but nothing was done," said a letter signed by members of the family.top story