BY NIZBERT MOYO ZANU PF has denied reports linking the ruling party to Mzilikazi commemorations slated for early September saying this was an attempt to divert its supporters from the upcoming by-elections in Bulilima.
By-elections will be held on September 3 to fill the vacant ward 1, 14 and 16 following the resignation of two Zanu PF councillors, Tonny Mlotshwa and Ntungamili Dube and the death of Delani Mabhena, who also belonged to the ruling party, respectively..
Zanu PF controls 21 councillors in Bulilima Rural District Council while the opposition only has one ward.
Reports emerged last week that Zanu PF was involved in plans to host the King Mzilikazi commemorations set for September 10 at Mhlahlandlela, Mzilikazi’s last known capital.
Mhlahlandlela is located off the Old Gwanda road, about 22 kilometres outside Bulawayo.
“Attention: Umgubho wenkosi uMzilikazi kaMashobane, The government of Zimbabwe and Zanu PF invites everyone to join them in commemorating the life of King Mzilikazi. Address by the President Date: 10 September Time 08.00 am to 5pm, Speaker: Chiefs, Lobengula Royal Family, local leadership, Zanu PF provincial, District and ward leaders Venue: uMhlahlandlela Invitation by Izinduna zaseMatabeleland and Zanu PF youth league Contact: Moses Langa, Zanu PF Mat South Youth League chairperson,” reports circulated last week.
Langa said it was not true that the party will grace the commemorations.
“It is a big lie,” Langa said.
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“There are relevant communication channels in the party. This is a big lie from our enemies trying to tarnish my image as a young political leader.
“It is meant to divert people’s attention from the upcoming Bulilima East ward by elections slated on September 3.”
The commemorations are, however, apolitical.
Mzilikazi, considered the greatest Bantu warrior after King Shaka, founded the Matabele Kingdom now called Matabeleland after fleeing South Africa with his people.
He died on September 9, 1868.
Originally a lieutenant of Shaka, he revolted against Shaka, the Zulu king, in 1823 and withdrew his people northward to Matabeleland, creating en-route an immense and ethnically diverse nation.
There have been plans to revive the Ndebele Kingdom, but the government has scoffed at the suggestions.
Advocates of a Ndebele Kingship argue the matter does not need a constitutional provision as it is a traditional matter.
Lobengula was the last Ndebele King after a British Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes destroyed the Kingdom in 1893/
There are three claimants to the throne: South African-based Bulelani Khumalo, South Stanley Raphael Khumalo and Peter Zwide Khumalo.