BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A CHIEFTAINSHIP row has erupted in Gokwe with some royal lineages approaching the High Court to seek the reversal of the appointment of Mariani Rikonda as Chief Masuka.
In a joint urgent chamber application filed at the High Court by Martin Masuka, the Rikonda House, Nemaringa House and the Gwenjera House argued that Rikonda’s appointment was illegal.
They want his appointment reversed saying it contravened section 283(c) (Amendment No 20 of 2013) of the Constitution.
Rikonda is cited as the first respondent, while Local Government minister July Moyo and President Emmerson Mnangagwa are second and third respondents, respectively.
“The person appointed as substantive Chief Masuka in Gokwe South district is not allowed to be appointed as Chief Masuka by the ‘prevailing traditional practices and traditions’ of the Masuka people/tribe as he is not from the permissible senior generation of ‘fathers’ of the Rikonda House.
“Consequently, the applicants’ constitutional rights to be afforded the opportunity for appointment as a substantive Chief Masuka were, and are being infringed. The applicants aver that if the relief is not granted, there is a high likelihood of irreparable harm in that the first respondent (Rikonda) is now exercising duties of a Chief Masuka and is demanding
According to court papers, the tradition of the Masuka clan demand that the eldest surviving family member should assume the chieftainship, which in this case falls on the first applicant.
“The advent of the second republic ushered in an enhanced commitment to the re-establishment of our substantive chiefdom in Gokwe South. The Council of Chiefs was subsequently ordered to determine which house in the Masuka tribe was due to be installed, in continuation from when the chieftainship was terminated to “headman”.
“Subsequently, a determination was made that it is the Rikonda House which is the second applicant in this case. Communication was done to us, to the effect that Rikonda House is the royal house from which the substantive chief of the Masuka people is to be installed and a directive was issued to the second applicant, the Rikonda family, to resolve the question of who must be installed and nominate one person for appointment as chief of the Masuka people in Gokwe South.
“It is at this stage that the bulk, or rather all of the events specifically leading to this urgent chamber application began to unfold,” they submitted.
The applicants want Rikonda’s appointment set aside and a meeting of the provincial assembly of chiefs convened urgently to review its decisions to appoint an ineligible candidate.
They argue that the appointment of Rikonda by the President was based on misrepresentations.
“The truth of the matter is that the appointment of the first respondent by the President was based on absolute and outright misrepresentations and deliberate material misinterpretations, a whole bunch of lies.”
They said Ndaedzwa Jimu was not substantive Chief Masuka, but a headman under Chief Mazungunye in Bikita, because the Makuka chieftainship had been abolished by the colonial regime.