Traditional leaders in hot soup for opposing ZNA Commander Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe command


Lieutenant General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe, the commander of the Zimbabwe Army (ZNA), has found himself entangled in a heated chieftainship dispute in Nyanga. According to an exclusive report by The Standard, Sanyatwe stands accused of leveraging his influence to manipulate the proceedings of the Chief Katerere chieftainship wrangle, prompting allegations of undue interference.

The controversy arises from Sanyatwe’s alleged efforts to impose his preferred candidate, Alexio Chinongwa Nyamhute, as the new Chief Katerere. The installation ceremony for Nyamhute was scheduled to take place on Wednesday at Bande Primary School in Nyanga district, Manicaland province. However, the High Court intervened and halted the event following challenges to Nyamhute’s eligibility and claims that political forces had hijacked his appointment.

The army commander made headlines recently with his provocative remarks during a ZANU-PF party-inter district meeting in Nyanga, where he boldly asserted that ZANU-PF would rule indefinitely. These comments drew the attention of Thabani Mpofu, lawyer for former opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, who issued a letter to Sanyatwe demanding a retraction within seven days. Mpofu warned that failure to comply would result in legal action being taken.

In a video circulating online, Sanyatwe can be heard stating his intention to address matters concerning traditional leaders. “On the issue of traditional leaders, as owners of the party (ZANU-PF), we are going to deal with them,” he asserted. The purpose of the inter-district meeting in Nyanga, according to sources, was to exert pressure on traditional leaders to support Nyamhute over Chinake Mutseta, the candidate selected by spirit mediums.

Insiders from Nyanga revealed to The Standard People that some traditional leaders were not in favor of Sanyatwe’s preferred candidate. Consequently, efforts were reportedly made to bring them in line with the army commander’s wishes. It is alleged that the meeting aimed to whip these dissenting traditional leaders into supporting Nyamhute.

Lloyd Kasima, the Nyanga district development coordinator who has also faced accusations of influencing Nyamhute’s appointment, denied claims of political interference in the chieftainship dispute. Kasima was also accused of tampering with minutes to favor Nyamhute. “I don’t know about the allegations, but we have postponed the installation of Nyamhute,” he stated. “I don’t know where the issue of Honorable Chido Sanyatwe and Anselem Sanyatwe is coming from.”

Chido Sanyatwe, the wife of Lieutenant General Sanyatwe, serves as the Nyanga North lawmaker and is a member of the ZANU-PF politburo. Despite multiple attempts to reach them for comment, the Sanyatwe family could not be reached by The Standard.

Critics of Nyamhute contend that he does not belong to the clan, adding to the complexity of the dispute. Last week, the warring parties involved in the chieftainship wrangle participated in a pre-trial meeting presided over by High Court judge Justice Isaac Muzenda. Confirming the pre-trial conference, Christopher Ndlovu, a lawyer from Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners in Mutare, shed light on the ongoing legal proceedings.

As the chieftainship dispute in Nyanga intensifies, Lieutenant General Sanyatwe, a prominent figure within the Zimbabwean military, finds himself embroiled in controversy. The allegations of interference and attempts to influence traditional leaders have raised concerns about the integrity of the chieftainship selection process. The dispute underscores the delicate balance between traditional customs and the role of influential individuals in Zimbabwean society.

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