Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni says efforts are being made to declare the sacred Ntabazinduna mountain a World Heritage Site.
The mountain is at the centre of a wrangle between Brian Davies and Floyd Ambrose for the ownership of Chiefs Lodge situated on top of the mountain.
With the permission of the late Chief Khayisa Ndiweni, the Davies/Parsons family built Chiefs Lodge in 1992.
Davies and Ambrose are fighting for control of a portion of Tabas Induna Farm, where the mountain stands
Speaking from his base in the United Kingdom, Ndiweni said Ntabazinduna mountain was of cultural significance to the Ndebele nation.
“We have to ask this government who they went to war for and who they fought for because wherever you look in Zimbabwe, they are stocking up tribal tensions and bringing up tribalism. Take a look at Chiredzi, among the Shangani nation, their sacred ancestral land is about to be forcefully taken over by this government,” he said.
Chief Ndiweni highlighted both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga were well-read on Ndebele history and knew the value of Ntabazinduna mountain so they had to protect it.
“We have had talks about it when we met with the VP so I am 100 percent sure he and the president are also well versed on Ndebele history, so he too knows. Yet we are forced to see this utter nonsense,” he said.
“As the chief of that area I have to speak up I cannot keep quiet when such things are happening. Otherwise, other traditional leaders will ask Chief Ndiweni what is happening to our mountain. I must be able to give a reply.”
Chief Ndiweni claimed Ambrose was not acting alone but a front.
“If the president and vice president believed the importance of Ntabazinduna mountain they would have stopped Ambrose a long time ago. But the fact that Ambrose continues this means he has obtained sanction or authority from the vice president and president,” he said.
Therefore, Ntabazinduna has no option but to seek international protection for that mountain, said Chief Ndiweni.
“It has been for some time now that we have been looking at how we can encapsulate it into the World Heritage Site. There are various criteria to that and I think we meet most of those. If we don’t meet some of those criteria, then we can always add an attachment to Matopos, Khami Ruins or other localities. Indeed we can work closely with the city of Bulawayo, which has many sites that qualify to be classed as World Heritage Sites.”
The chief was optimistic that Ntabazinduna would achieve full protection of its mountain as a World Heritage Site.
Once this is achieved, it meant the area would be cordoned off and people occupying space within a kilometre radius would be moved.
Chief Ndiweni said he was aware Umguza Rural District Council (RDC) has settled a number of people around the mountain yet he had informed officials about these plans long ago.
“So if any of those people need to be recompensed in any way they should look to Umguza RDC who did something which they knew would never work in the fullness of time. We are not being harsh to those people but simply pointing them in the right direction that in our quest to protect Ntabazinduna mountain, people will have to be evacuated to give us a one-kilometre radius around it,” he said.
Chief Ndiweni argued the most regrettable chapter in Zimbabwe’s history was the failure of the government to protect people’s rights.
“So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to engage in this international practice and we will do so in the full glare of the light. We will do so even if the patriotic law has been passed,” he said.
The chief noted he would like to be the first person to prosecute those responsibly and if that meant it “ended at the doorstep of the president’s office then so be it.”
“If Ambrose was acting alone, he should be arrested for defying the law,” said Chief Ndiweni who added if no prosecutions came from the president’s office, it would be clear he was sent by the presidium.
“Failure to that, we by ourselves will be launching criminal prosecution against him. Among those charges, we will be citing him for three counts of contempt of high court orders. On those three occasions, he willfully ignored determinations produced by the High Court of Zimbabwe.
“We will be charging him with breaking and entering into the said properties of Ntabazinduna, four counts of malicious damage of those properties on the mountain. We are charging him with verbal and physical abuse of people, assault, battery and being in possession of a weapon. We will also be charging him for discharging the weapon in a public place and attempted murder because it is what happened,” Chief Ndiweni said.