Byo High Court blocks Chief Mvuthu installation
THE High Court in Bulawayo has blocked the process of confirming Mr Sanders Mlotshwa as the substantive Chief Mvuthu until determination by the Constitutional Court on the wrangle with his niece Miss Silibaziso Mlotshwa over the throne.
This follows an urgent chamber application by Miss Mlotshwa seeking to stop Hwange District Administrator from forwarding her uncle’s name to the Government, as the designate Chief Mlotshwa.
Mr Mlotshwa, the District Administrator for Hwange, Minister of Rural Development, Promotion of Culture and Heritage, Cde Abednico Ncube and President Mugabe are cited as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively in the application.
Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi on Friday last week issued a provisional order interdicting the DA from installing a substantive Chief Mvuthu.
Justice Mathonsi said a substantive chief could only be installed after the Constitutional Court makes a determination on the constitutionality of the Ndebele/ Nguni customary law succession principle which excludes women from holding the position of chief.
“Pending the final determination of this application it is ordered that the second respondent be interdicted from forwarding the name of the first respondent to the third or fourth respondent for confirmation as substantive Chief Mvuthu pending the finalisation of the constitutional challenge pending before the Constitutional Court. The process of appointing a substantive chief for the Mvuthu chieftainship be stayed pending the finalisation of the constitutional challenge pending before the courts,” reads the interdict in part.
Justice Mathonsi gave Mr Mlotshwa 12 days to oppose the provisional order, from the day he was served with the order. Miss Mlotshwa, the eldest daughter of the late Chief Mvuthu Mlotshwa has approached the Constitutional Court contesting her exclusion in the nomination process for the inheritance of her father’s throne.
Her clansman barred her from taking over her father’s throne because she experiences monthly menstrual periods, among other reasons. Miss Mlotshwa approached the Constitutional Court after the Supreme Court advised her that the matter was a constitutional one.
She, through her lawyer Mr Thulani Ndlovu of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners, is challenging the constitutionality of the Nguni customary succession principle which excludes women from appointment as chiefs. She argues that such customary principle is inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“It is my further view that the Nguni customary succession principle in as far as it excludes women from chieftainship violates my rights as protected in the Declaration of Rights being my right to equality and nondiscrimination (Section 56), right to dignity (Section 51), right to language and culture (Section 63) and rights of women (Section 80) of the Constitution,” she stated.
The Mvuthu throne became vacant after the death of Chief Mvuthu Mlotshwa in 2014 and his brother Mr Sanders Mlotshwa was appointed chief.
Miss Mlotshwa contested her uncle’s appointment contending that she was supposed to takeover from her late father as she was the eldest of her father’s three daughters.
The Nguni culture follows a lineal system of succession where the eldest child of the chief is heir to the throne. Miss Mlotshwa further argued that in KwaZulu-Natal where the Ngunis originate, there were now many female chiefs who have undertaken the tasks equally competently.