Chiefs are urging the government to urgently change the classification of traditional leaders’ titles from chiefs to kings.
Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Urayayi Mhondoro, who earlier this year ordered the exhumation and reburial of late former president Robert Mugabe from his rural home in Zvimba to a site at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, is leading the lobby.
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Speaking at an interactive meeting between traditional leaders and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officers at Inkomo Barracks in Nyabira at the weekend, Chief Zvimba said the title chief compromised their standing and great responsibility in society.
Mhondoro, who was speaking in Shona, said:
Chieftainship speaks to royalty. We don’t like to be equated with chief executives and chief engineers, we are not different but what separates us is the work we do and the trajectory we traverse to be installed. One doesn’t go to school to become a chief, neither is there promotion but it comes with central lineage.
He appealed to Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Chief of Staff (Quartermaster Staff) major-general Hlanganani Dube to relay the message to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately action the demand to alter the title. He added:
King George and Queen Elizabeth are not addressed as chiefs because they are royals. Historically there were kings, therefore it’s better to say Mambo (King) Zvimba or Mambo Chundu because saying chief does not befit our lofty status and image.
The annual meeting between chiefs and the army generals is aimed at cementing civil-military relations. It comes when some observers have expressed doubt over the impartiality of both traditional leaders and soldiers who are seen as working for the ruling Zanu PF party.