A boundary dispute between two traditional leaders threatens to suck in President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Chief Mapanzure from the Midlands Province under whose jurisdiction Mnangagwa’s rural home lies and Chief Jahana from Insiza are involved in a quarrel over territory.
The dispute has reportedly drawn in Agriculture and Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri and a local Joint Operations Command (JOC) taskforce.
Speaking to the Daily News on Monday, Matabeleland Chiefs Council secretary Nothiwani Dlodlo said that Chief Mapanzure was encroaching into Chief Jahana’s territory. Said Dlodlo:
There is an ongoing dispute between Mapanzure and Jahana over the boundary of their land. Unfortunately, the land belongs to Jahana since it was gazetted by the government.
However, perhaps chief Mapanzure is using his widely-held belief that he is close to the president, hence his unrelenting push for land.
Mapanzure has already occupied the land where villages with three heads have already been settled.
When contacted for comment by the Daily News, Chief Jahana had this to say:
We are currently in Gwanda for a meeting with the officials from the Local Government ministry over the matter. What we understand is that they want to take our land and put it in the Midlands Province, but that’s what we are rejecting.
Information reaching us is that they want to create Chief Mapanzure one and Chief Mapanzure two to accommodate their fellow kinsmen, but we are saying no to that.
They are using the advantage of their somehow closeness to the president to try and grab my land.
So, today, if these officials we are meeting fail to properly address this matter, we are definitely going to take this matter up with the president himself.
This will help us see if he is the one behind it or just people hiding behind his name.
Chief Mapanzure rejected claims that he was taking advantage of his closeness to Mnangagwa. He said:
It’s a long story that started long back when the delimitations were being done and that place that is being talked about belongs to us.
But for a fact, this matter started way before Mnangagwa became president and it was handled by former Local Government ministers as (Saviour) Kasukuwere and (Ignatius) Chombo.
It’s only that these people are trying to politicise the matter.
Insiza District lies in Matabeleland South Province and shares borders with Vungu, Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Umzingwane and Gwanda.