Former education and culture minister Aeneas Chigwedere is embroiled in a plot to dethrone Chief Svosve, Weston Zvenyika Kuwandikira, in Mashonaland East province, a local newspaper reported.
According to NewsDay, Chigwedere is supporting an application to oust Chief Svosve made by Aaron Maruta. The application was filed at the High Court on October 7, with Maruta claiming he should be the substantive chief.
But the government came up guns blazing, backing up Kuwandikira.
In a supporting affidavit to the court application, Chigwedere, also a former provincial governor of Mashonaland East and a Wedza headman, said on February 3 2006 he attended a chieftainship meeting at Dendenyore Hall in Wedza where it was agreed that the Maruta family should ascend to the Svosve chieftainship.
“Tiri pamusangano uyu, ini Mubaiwa (headman) ndakatsvigira kuti imba yaMaruta ndiyo yakange yava pachidanho chekutonga,” reads Chigwedere’s affidavit signed on September 26 this year.
In his application, Maruta cited Chief Svosve and the minister of Local Government July Moyo as first and second respondents respectively.
“This is an application for nullification or revocation of a chieftainship bestowed upon the first respondent,” reads the application. “the applicant through a meeting at Dendenyore, Wedza, was appointed the rightful heir apparent to the throne by all Dzimba Dzeushe on 02/02/06. the respondent was even present on the particular day and was disqualified by Houses Dzeushe and that he was not even nearer the succession line.”
He said the meeting was chaired by the district administrator.
“It is after the meeting held on 02/02/06 that the first respondent after being disqualified connived with the then (Zanu PF) provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde and demonised my person as an MDC supporter and thwarted the whole earlier decision made on 02/02/06 at Dendenyore,” adds the application.
In an opposing affidavit filed with the High Court on October 17 this year, the permanent secretary in the ministry of local government, George Magosvongwe, defended Chief Svosve.
“The first respondent is a part of the Nyahuye Wasvosve family tree and is eligible to ascend to the chieftainship. The meeting held at Dendenyore centre was one of the consultative meetings held with the Nyahuye Wasvosve clan members,” averred Magosvongwe who deposed the affidavit on behalf of minister Moyo. “the meeting nominated the applicant for appointment as substantative chief. After that, some clan members were not satisfied with the decision and challenged the decision to reverse the nomination made of the meeting. The second respondent (minister of local government) set an investigation team to relook into the matter. The decision of the meeting of 2 february 2006 was then reversed and the first respondent was nominated for appointment.”
Magosvongwe dismissed claims by Maruta that he became a victim of Zanu PF politics.
“These allegations cannot be sustained, the decision to reverse the nomination was made based on the traditional and cultural succession custom grounds applicable to the Nyahuye Wasvosve than political as clamed,” the permanent secretary averred. “the supporting affidavits referred to by the applicant were in support of a decision which was later reviewed and reversed.”
The application came barely a fortnight after Chief Svosve convened a meeting of traditional leaders in Wedza where a resolution was made to strip Chigwedere of his headship.
Chief Svosve has been battling Chigwedere and ex-Mashonaland East provincial affairs minister David Musabayana accusing both politicians of not respecting his chieftainship.
In July, the chief wrote to President Emmerson Mnangagwa accusing Musayabana of a battery of allegations. He asked the president to recall him from his ministerial post and is currently pushing for his ouster as a member of parliament.
Musabayana was also accused of defrauding over 10 000 women he allegedly wanted to open bank accounts for them. Police are still investigating the case and the former minister was last week summoned for questioning in Marondera.
Chigwedere is not new to the courts. He is currently fighting with his son, Mangwiza, in court after he accused the former education minister of witchcraft. The ex-minister was recently granted in order by the High Court to subject Mangwiza to a paternity test to establish his fatherhood.