Chiweshe chieftainship row spills into High Court

Source: Chiweshe chieftainship row spills into High Court | The Herald November 8, 2019

Fungai Lupande Senior Court Reporter
An aggrieved Chiweshe headman has petitioned the High Court to restore the Nyachuru chieftaincy in which he is the sole descendant, saying the colonial Rhodesian government relegated his clan to headmanship, the position it is holding to date, in favour of the Chief Chiweshe chieftainship.

Takawira Mashupiko Sylas Masawi of Shutu Village in Chiweshe said he was a descendant of the Gwiranerwizi or Simboti chieftaincy known as the Nyachuru chieftaincy according to oral history.

He said the Rhodesian authorities abolished the Gwiranerwizi chieftaincy represented by the Nyachuru Simboti descendants in favour of Chief Chiweshe, who was flexible to their demands.

Nyachuru was relegated to headman under Chief Chiweshe, a situation that has prevailed to this day.

Chief Chiweshe, Mazowe District Development Coordinator (DDC) and Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing are cited as  respondents.

Masawi wants a High Court order restoring the Nyachuru chieftaincy and for Chief Chiweshe to recognise Nyachuru’s right to chieftainship within the territorial jurisdiction.

He wants the minister and DDC to attend to administrative requirements for the restoration of the Nyachuru chieftaincy, including his inauguration in line with traditional practices.

“The Nyachuru chieftaincy belongs to the Simboti clan who were the warrior component of the Mutapa Kingdom that came from Sena, Mozambique, in the 18th century,” read the summons.

“The clan comprised of war spirit mediums whose role was the prosecution of wars declared by the grand Mutota. One of the ancestors, Chiruruvare/Gwiranerwizi, engaged white settlers around the Gwebi area, Mount Hampden, Peasant Farm, Rymers Farm, Old Mazowe Road, and also Cemand/Manda Mountain and Mazowe Valley with the main fortress being the Mbeve Mountain range at Mazowe Dam kiosk site.”

Masawi said the last Simboti chief warrior was besieged in the Mazowe caves and died of starvation during the First Chimurenga of 1895 to 1896.

“Chief Chiweshe is opposed to handing over the chieftainship and the plaintiff is seeking the High Court to restore the Nyachuru chieftaincy whose territorial jurisdiction encompasses Mouth Hampden, Old Mazowe Road, Mazowe Prison Farm, Henderson Research and Quarantine Station, Iron Mask Farm, Mazowe Hotel Mandas in Concession and Jumbo Mine,” said Masawi in his court  papers.