ZIPRA Veterans and opposition political parties have come out guns blazing against Defence and War Veterans Welfare Deputy Minister, Victor Matemadanda for allegedly attacking the people of Matabeleland following Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni’s blunt comments over western imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Matemadanda, who is also war veterans association secretary general, told ZBC that people of Matabeleland did not deserve to be led by Ndiweni because of his recent views on sanctions and the Zanu PF government.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo last week, Chief Ndiweni called for the maintenance of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the European Union and the United States, saying the current government has brought more misery to the majority.
In response to the Chief’s remarks, Matemadanda appeared to question the sanity of Ndebele people for settling for Chief Ndiweni as their chief.
“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.
“It is unfortunate that in a country, we have such calibre of people as chiefs and you even wonder what happens to the tribe that is supposed to take the chieftainship. Do they not have a better person to take the chieftainship?
“It is not wise for the chief to try and involve himself in politics. We will not allow and accept that to happen,” Matemadanda said.
The deputy minister‘s utterances have however irked ZIPRA Veterans and opposition parties who have seen the comments as an attack on Mthwakazi.
“Matemadanda should apologise to Chief Ndiweni and the people of Matabeleland. Who is he to tell the people of Matabeleland on how to choose their chiefs? He certainly cannot be a minister of every ministry,” said ZIPRA Veterans secretary general, Petros Sibanda in an interview with NewZimbabwe.
Sibanda said it is ironical that while Chief Fortune Charumbira has publicly declared his allegiance to Zanu PF, people like Matemadanda have not complained but only rush to protest when a Chief from Matebeleland raises his concerns.
“We ZIPRA Veterans have not interfered with the selection of Chiefs in Mashonaland. Why is he interfering with our traditional and cultural ways of selecting our own chiefs? Charumbira is on record saying he supports Zanu PF and nothing has been said,” said Sibanda.
The ZIPRA Veterans chief advised the deputy minister to instead concentrate his efforts towards advancing the welfare of the former freedom fighters.
“He should fulfil his promises of economically empowering Zapu cadres. More than 20 000 ZIPRA fighters have not been vetted,” he said.
ZIPRA Veterans chairman, Ben Ncube also attacked Matemadanda for his remarks.
“I think Cde Matemadanda is wrong on this one. Chiefs are culturally appointed. He should stop interfering with cultures of other tribes. That is wrong,” said Ncube.
MDC Alliance national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo also concurred with Ncube.
“You cannot begrudge someone, moreso, a chief for saying his views. In any case, what he said is a reflection of the views of his subjects. In the past, we have heard a lot of chiefs praising Zanu PF but people like Matemadanda have not said even said a single word,” she said.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa also chipped in.
“It is clear that people like Matemadanda do not respect other tribes‘s culture. The chief was simply expressing his views as one of the leaders in Matebeleland,” said Maphosa.