Row over Murinye chieftainship rages


Tarisai Machakaire

THE decade-long battle for the Murinye chieftainship in Masvingo rages on after an elder brother of the incumbent chief obtained a High Court order compelling the provincial assembly of chiefs to reconvene and decide on the leadership contest.

In response, the chief, Ephias Munodawafa, has now sued his brother Milton Munodawafa and Local Government minister July Moyo seeking rescission of the judgment issued in favour of his elder brother on February 20, arguing he was excluded from the proceedings.

Chief Murinye wants the judgment set aside and he also wants to be joined to the court proceedings.
Ephias has been the Murinye chief since 2009.

In July, he discovered that the High Court had issued an order directing the Local Government minister to convene a provincial assembly of chiefs to determine a dispute over the chieftainship.

“I realised that I was not party to the application that resulted in this order despite the fact that the order affects my rights. The first respondent is my brother who has in the past challenged my chieftainship. I was of the view that the matter had since been resolved.

“I make this application to rescind the order because the application was based on fraud. I am of the view that my non-citation in the application was a deliberate resolution by the first respondent to avoid the court getting full perspectives of issues surrounding the chieftainship,” Ephias said in an affidavit.

The chief argued that the High Court would not have issued that order if he had been included in that application.

The court heard the Murinye chieftainship rotates between three houses — Vushe, Mutikani and Munodawafa. After the matter was referred to the provincial administrator in March 2008, it was agreed that the chieftainship would go to the Munodawafa house and that Gakari Denhere would be appointed chief.

Gakari is said to have recused himself from the chieftainship citing old age and poor health. He then nominated Ephias to be appointed chief with the backing of the majority of Munodawafa clansmen.

That marked the beginning of the chieftainship row as Milton fought to be appointed leader but that was in vain and Ephias was eventually crowned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2009.

In 2011, Milton instituted summons against Ephias, but the application was dismissed by the High Court.

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