Government has castigated Ntabazinduna Chief Felix Ndiweni for calling on Western countries to impose more sanctions against the country claiming the existing embargoes were “tiny”. Chief Ndiweni bizarrely argued at the Bulawayo Press Club last week that the sanctions “serve as measures to make those in authoritative positions see sense”.
In a statement, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said Chief Ndiweni’s utterances were inhuman and against our cultural beliefs.
‘‘Chief Ndiweni’s sentiments are deplorable, parochial and ignorant coming from a traditional leader,’’ he said.
‘‘It is tragic that one of those constitutionally expected to uphold our customary values and community cohesion has chosen to not only to be a controversial political player but to repeat a shameful familial history by calling for suffering to be visited upon the people of Zimbabwe.’’
Mr Mangwana added: ‘‘It is unfathomable that a community leader from a deprived section of the community has chosen the path of underdevelopment by calling for the escalation of sanctions against the country in the misguided and futile hope that it will help collapse President’s Mnangagwa’s Government.”
Mr Mangwana also said sanctions have so far failed to bring down the Zimbabwean Government in the last 18 years of their existence and they are not going to succeed now just because one of our chiefs has chosen the quisling route and be a relentless fraterniser.
“What sanctions have succeeded in doing is to bring untold suffering upon the poor sections of our communities and increasing the gap between the haves and have-nots,” he said.
“Empirical evidence has shown that Zimbabwe has lost over $50 billion worth of development, thanks to sanctions, and this reversal has disproportionately affected the poor and rural folk.”
Mr Mangwana urged chiefs to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner since they are the custodians of our cultural norms and values.
‘‘Chiefs should be spearheading development in their communities and not embracing poverty and using it as a political tool against the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We expected Chief Ndiweni to know this. Alas, he is back in familiar territory as it will also be recalled that his family has a history of collaborating with the enemy and waging this anti-people war from as far back as the liberation struggle.
“Those who know history would be awake that certain statements are informed by the sitting configurations that obtained at the Lancaster House Conference with some on the side of the people and others on the side of the intrusive Western powers.”
In view of Chief Ndiweni’s remarks and others, especially in the opposition who have invited sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mr Mangwana said it was time Zimbabwe considered legislative solutions to deal with such acts of treachery.
‘‘For, how different are sanctions imposed by foreign powers and the same powers coming to invade our shores? ” he asked
“Both kill the innocent and vulnerable and both debilitate the economy and both terrorise the innocent. Why then do we have laws against one and not the other?
‘‘May we remind Chief Felix Ndiweni that Government and the people of Zimbabwe are watching and watching closely as he goes on with his politics that are clearly not guided by the national and community interest but inspired by some dubious narrow, parochial interests.”
Chief Ndiweni, who has openly declared support for the opposition MDC-Alliance, has on numerous occasions caught out on some mischief since he returned home from the United Kingdom where he stayed for about 40 years.
In 2017, he allowed one political party to hold a rally in his area against police decision barring the party to proceed with the rally in Ntabazinduna because the police did not have enough manpower.
Chief Ndiweni also had a stand-off with the then Umguza MP Obert Mpofu accusing him of meddling in his and other chiefs’ affairs.
Last year, he took the Chiefs Council President Chief Fortune Charumbira and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to court seeking nullification of provincial assembly and national chiefs’ council election results held in 2017, arguing that the whole process was marred with irregularities.
He was also fingered as the one behind the revival of the Ndebele Kingdom after he presided over the secret installation of King Bulelani Khumalo.
Government has since declared the push for the Ndebele Kingdom illegal.