The Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has confronted Matabeleland chiefs on the alleged parcelling out of prime land in the region to non-locals.
MRP accuses the traditional leaders of being “passive” and failing to stop outsiders from gaining access to local resources.
The 14 paged letter dated November 9, 2020 signed by party leader, Mqondisi Moyo and addressed to the 79 chiefs noted there have been several worrying occasions concerning land grabs by outsiders including the Chinese in Matabeleland North and South.
MRP, which defines itself as a defender of the vulnerable in Matabeleland, alleged the chiefs had been captured by Zanu PF as they failed to conduct their constitutional duties.
“Of late, I have been engaged by thousands across Mthwakazi concerning the land issue. People want to know what is happening with their land. The outcry is that people from Mashonaland have taken land in Mthwakazi. You as the traditional custodians of the said resources have neither done nor said anything to stop this provocative move,” Moyo said in the letter.
He questioned the traditional leader’s passive role and said their ‘silence’ would be mistaken for complicity in the marginalisation of locals.
Moyo also pointed out that Zimbabwe’s constitution stated chiefs must promote the fundamental rights and freedoms of people and not be used by political parties.
“Section 282 of the Constitution notes that chiefs must rather promote the cultural values of their communities, facilitate development, resolve disputes and perform other functions conferred to them by an Act of parliament among other duties.”
But Moyo said the inconsistencies in the chiefs’ performance has revealed that they are furthering the interests of the ruling Zanu PF.
“Our chiefs have been captured by the Zanu PF government. Your powers over your own jurisdiction have been pruned. Contrary to the call by the Constitution that you must not be politically affiliated, an estimated 85 percent of you have since been reduced to Zanu Puppets, which is a very sad and destructive development,” he said in the letter.
“We have also gathered from our intelligence that the majority of you are Zanu PF cardholders, making you easy prey for the ruling party. It is no surprise that even on land related decisions your wings are clipped.”
He also claimed that some chiefs had informed him that as traditional leaders they too now had to apply for land.
“Surely how can a chief apply for land over which he or she is chief custodian?”
Moyo noted that Matabeleland was endowed with vast resources and if the chiefs folded their hands and let these be plundered by non locals, they were betraying their own communities.
“You seem to have forgotten that your chieftainship is not a gift from Zanu but an inheritance from your (our) forefathers,” said the MRP leader.
The letter also makes mention of several factors such as the handling of Gukurahundi that MRP is unhappy with including the unresolved issue of the revival of the Ndebele mornarchy which has been blcoked by the government. Moyo said their fight for equitable distribution of land was their “God-given birth right.”
“The liberation struggle was motivated by land dispossession and continued oppression of black and whites. As Mthwakazi people we find ourselves back on the drawing board, because the so-called Zimbabwean independence has benefitted Shona people at the expense of Mthwakazi who also fought selflessly under ZPRA and ZAPU,” he claimed.