Chief brews shocker, appoints village heads for Rusape

26 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
Chief brews shocker, appoints village heads for Rusape Chief Makoni


Chief Makoni brewed a shocker two weeks ago after installing 17 village heads in Rusape Town which is vying for municipal status. 

The installation ceremony was held at Makoni Country Club, amid traditional rites, pomp and funfair.

Chief Makoni allegedly divided Rusape into village segments and installed a village head in each of the areas. The 17 new traditional leaders were instructed to hit the ground running and assert authority in their jurisdictions.

The controversial move came after Chief Makoni had taken Government to court over a published gazette recognising the restoration of chiefs — Chipunza, Chikore, Chiduku and Tandi — in the area he originally claimed as his.

He was forced to withdraw the court case following a no-holds-barred meeting with Local Government and Public Works Minister, Dr July Moyo and his delegation on Monday.

Ministry of Local Government and Public Works spokesperson, Mr Gabriel Masvora, said Chief Makoni was offside and lacks the authority to appoint village heads in town.

Mr Masvora said Makoni District Development Coordinator, Mr Edwin Mashindi, was instructed to report the illegal appointments to the police.

“On the issue of Rusape, all traditional leaders know boundaries of their jurisdictions. They control communal and resettlement areas, while urban areas are controlled by councils.

“If there are any appointments being made by any traditional leader in towns, such are null and void and are not recognised at law. Further, we must state that if there are any such appointees, they must be reported to the police and the law must take its course,” said Mr Masvora.

Mr Masvora said after his meeting with Minister Moyo, Chief Makoni withdrew his case challenging the gazetting of the new boundaries.

“We are pleased to note that Chief Makoni withdrew his court case, and on Monday, Minister July Moyo met him and the other chiefs to discuss the matter. From the meeting, and the fact that the matter is no longer before the courts, it means that the traditional boundaries that were established and published in the Government Gazette stand.

“This also means that the established traditional leaders have the mandate to appoint sub-traditional leaders in their areas. We have taken note that in some areas Chief Makoni still wants to control the appointment of Headmen and Village Heads, but we have instructed the DDC that such cases must be reported to the police so that the law takes its course,” said Mr Masvora.

Mr Mashindi said the appointments made by Chief Makoni were a legal nullity and the appointees should not exercise any authority in Rusape, lest they face the full wrath of the law.

“That was illegal, and it should stop because that was neither sanctioned by the Government nor supported by any law. In terms of the law, urban areas have not been emplaced under traditional leaders. Only resettlement areas have gone through the process of emplacement in Makoni District.

“The appointments are a legal nullity. We have since engaged Chief Makoni and advised him that he was offside. What he did was improper and has to be rectified as this will create chaos in urban areas. There is no law that compels urban residents to be subjects to traditional leaders,” said Mr Mashindi.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Makoni argued that the installation of Village Heads in Rusape was above board, and implored all residents to cooperate with his appointees.

“The only towns and cities that do not have traditional leaders are Harare and Bulawayo. The rest falls under traditional leaders. What we are doing here is legal and lawful. The Constitution states that towns are under traditional leaders.

“Rusape is under Chief Makoni and has to have Village Heads. I expect you to behave responsibly as leaders. Be the shining examples of your communities,” said Chief Makoni.

“The district is called Makoni and Rusape falls within it. These Village Heads will operate like their counterparts in other areas. We are Africans with our own culture and tradition. There are issues that require traditional interventions, like appeasing avenging spirits, lobola and witchcraft issues that affect our people daily regardless of where they stay, hence the need for these leaders” he said.

Chiefs and Headmen are appointed in terms of the Traditional Leaders’ Act (Chapter 29:17), with their powers and functions laid down in the Act.

Chiefs exercise powers in the communal lands and their duties and functions are to provide traditional leadership to their communities and to promote and uphold cultural values among members of the community under their jurisdiction, particularly the preservation of the extended family and the promotion of traditional family life. 

They also exercise a variety of administrative and adjudicatory functions at local level in terms of the Customary Law and Local Courts Act (Chapter 7:05).

They preside over community courts and apply the customary law to resolve civil disputes.

A chief can be removed from office by the President if he or she is found guilty of offences involving dishonesty or misconduct, with the Minister recommending such a removal. – Manica Post

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