The Gumede Royal family is set to install a new chief to take over from Chief Johnson Menyezwa Gumede who died in 2013.
His younger brother Constantine Moses Gumede had been acting as chief since then.
However, the family has received criticism from the community, including the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs for failing to appoint a new leader.
In a statement, spokespersons of the Gumede Family said as the biological descendants of Mazwi Gumede, the original Chief Menyezwa, they would soon meet and discuss who would come in as the incumbent chief.
“We wish to advise our subjects and the public that there will be a general meeting of the family to be held at a set date in August where representatives of all Gumede houses will deliberate over the chieftaincy matter and announce the incoming new Chief Menyezwa,” said the family spokespersons, Augustine and Sibangilizwe Gumede.
The family claimed they had been in mourning and were now ready to start the process of installing a new chief.
“We, therefore, ask the public to understand that we are aware the matter has dragged on, but we wanted to observe a mourning period. However, we believe now is the right time to begin the processes to install our new chief,” said the spokespersons.
The Gumede family also advised the community not to be misled by sentiments that portrayed them in negative light, alleging those who did so were sponsored elements who had their own agendas.
“Furthermore, we ask that you not be swayed by innuendos shedding a negative light on our family as we realise the existence of a few sponsored projects carrying an agenda to create a sense of confusion in our sensitive family matter,” said the family
“To our subjects, the family still has in place ‘ibambela’ our Acting Chief who is Moses Gumede, who continues in this acting capacity until August when the name of the incoming Chief will be officially announced.”
Nevertheless, the Gumede family apologised for taking a long time to settle on who was to be installed as the next chief.
“Once again, we reiterate and tender an unreserved apology to the people of Lupane and to Umthwakazi at large for the delays as mentioned above these were necessitated also by the need to observe our Nguni customs that dictate certain rituals and processes be done before the installation of a new chief. We are presently seized with these,” said the family who called on the authorities to respect their wish as the Gumede Royal Clan.
“Finally, we ask all responsible offices to be patient and respect our wishes as a family to await the announcement of our new Chief in August.”
During the burial of Chief Mabhikwa in May in Lupane, President of the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs, Chief Fortune Charumbira, chided the Gumede clan for not ironing out differences that were standing in the way of their appointment of a new chief
Chief Charumbira said this after noting how the late Chief Mabhiwa had been ‘very’ active on behalf of the whole Lupane as the other chieftainship in the district had a vacancy.
“The Gumede Menyezwa chieftainship has given us headaches. I’m speaking as the president of the chief council to the Menyezwa clan and I believe they are here. Your issue has dragged on for three or four years with you failing to come up with a leader. It’s because you’re running away from the culture, once you stick to your culture there is no problem,” said Chief Charumbira.