DETHRONED Ntabazinduna’s Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni is challenging the government’s decision to eject him from the traditional leadership post and is seeking reinstatement.
Ndiweni, who was dethroned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration with effect from November 30, filed an application through his lawyer Dumisani Dube at the Bulawayo High Court yesterday, citing Mnangagwa, Local Government minister July Moyo, Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira, Chief Shana for Matabeleland North Provincial Chiefs Assembly, Matabeleland North provincial development co-ordinator (PDC) Latiso Dlamini and Umguza PDC Tapiwa Zivovoyi as respondents.
Ndiweni wants his removal from the chieftainship to be declared unlawful, null and void and set aside.
“The recommendations of the Matabeleland Provincial Assembly of Chiefs that Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni be removed from office of Chief Ndiweni be and should be, hereby, declared null and void,” he submitted.
“The directive of first respondent (Mnangagwa) that applicant be dispossessed of his government issued vehicle, chief’s regalia and other government assets lawfully in his possession be declared to be unlawful, null and void and of no force and be set aside. “
In his founding affidavit, Ndiweni said his application was for a declaratory and consequential relief that his purported removal from chieftainship by Mnangagwa based on the recommendations by Provincial Chiefs Assembly must be null and void.
“… More particularly that I can only be removed from my office as a chief upon lawful action and processes fully respecting my constitutional rights under subsection (1) and (2) of section 68 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which grants me the rights to administrative conduct that is lawful, reasonable, procedural and substantive as well as the rights to be promptly given reasons for the administrative conduct taken … I was denied all these rights,” he submitted.
“When the issue of my removal from the office was being considered, I was entitled in terms of subsection (1)(2) of section 3 of the administration of Justice Act Chapter 10:28 not only to lawful, reasonable and fair treatment, but also to be given adequate notice of the nature and proposed action against me as well as to be given a reasonable opportunity to make adequate representation on the matter. None of these rights were respected in my purported removal from office …”
Ndiweni said during the process leading to his removal, he was denied the right to be heard.
“Chief Ndiweni having been duly and lawfully appointed by then President late Robert Mugabe in June 2014, accordingly no question arises under section 3(2)(a)(1) of the Traditional Leaders Act Chapter 29:17. Section 28(1) of the Constitution cited by first respondent as being the provision on the basis of which … he acted in purporting to remove me from office does not in itself grant first respondent any power of removal of a chief, but merely provides for limits, qualifications and conditions which must be included in an Act of Parliament making provision for the appointment, suspension, succession and removal of traditional leaders,” he submitted.
“I am the substantive Chief Ndiweni on Ntabazinduna, Umguza District having been duly appointed by then President in terms of sections 283 of the constitution Amendment No 20 Act 2013 and section 3(1) of the Traditional Leaders Act Chapter 29:17 having been duly appointed on June 20 2014.”
He wants government to be blocked from confiscating his official vehicle and regalia.
Respondents are yet to file their response.