Mashudu Netsianda and Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporters
POLITICIANS and analysts have slammed outspoken Ntabazinduna traditional leader, Chief Nhlanhla Ndiweni, for his unrelenting call for the United States of America and the European Union to add more illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Churches also joined in the campaign for removal of the sanctions.
Chief Nhlanhla Ndiweni, who was apparently angered by the Government’s decision to resettle an indigenous farmer at a farm in Ntabazinduna previously occupied by a white family, on Thursday night, addressed a Press conference in Bulawayo and called for tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Chief Ndiweni sensationally appealed to the international community to escalate sanctions on the President Mnangagwa’s Government, claiming it has failed to pursue democracy.
“We have now put in place our point man and ladies in Washington DC, London and Europe and they will engage those particular organisations who have been speaking about Zimbabwe. We are openly asking those institutions to increase the sanctions against President Mnangagwa’s administration. We are asking them to increase the travel restrictions against this administration because the present sanctions are not punitive enough,” he said.
In separate interviews, political analysts and politicians condemned Chief Ndiweni’s stance, saying his sentiments were regrettable and “treasonous.”
Political scientist and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor Sheunesu Mpepereki said the call for more sanctions by Chief Ndiweni was unpatriotic and treasonous.
“It is unfortunate that such utterances are coming from a chief and I respectfully say that is most unfortunate and a downright unpatriotic gesture. I think in any country including America itself and Europe anybody who publicly make such utterances would be charges with treason. Clearly, what Chief Ndiweni has said is an act of treason and coming from someone who is a traditional leader is most unfortunate and regrettable,” he said.
Prof Mpepereki urged Chief Ndiweni to embrace President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts through dialogue, which is aimed at promoting peace in the country.
“President Mnangagwa has been open for engagements although our history may have had many painful episodes and the last thing that any right thinking people would do is to ask for sanctions. The chief is well advised to keep his mouth shut and he should not call for sanctions when people are suffering including his own subjects. In fact the sanctions will not solve anything except to cause more untold suffering for people and economic misery to our country,” he said.
“When you are sitting inside a pot and then say people should make more fire under that pot, it does not make any sense and that is how a chief who loves his people behaves? Sadly, he is even lying to the same foreigners who only yesterday were killing our own people.”
Prof Mpepereki said Chief Ndiweni should instead champion dialogue and peace among Zimbabweans instead of fuelling hatred.
“The sanctions will not make the chief more comfortable and whatever problems and challenges the chief has can only be solved by Zimbabweans through discussion. All wars fought on mother earth have been concluded through dialogue, which President Mnangagwa is calling for. Yes, people can scold and shout at each other, but let’s sit down and dialogue and eventually when there is a cease fire there will always be talks and when there are talks there will be peace. The respectable chief should be the one sitting at the forefront calling for peace through dialogue and bringing out the issues those pertinent issues to the roundtable not by calling for sanctions. That is unforgivable,” he said.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Cde Victor Matemadanda said the chief’s sentiments were a clear indication that he was serving the interests of the British and Americans.
“Chiefs are the custodians of the land and that land is what creates the chieftainship and not only the land but also the people that inhabit that place. It is those people that are their subjects who are suffering from the effects of sanctions. For a chief to call for sanctions just shows how separated that chief is from his people,” he said.
“It is unfortunate we have people like him who are referred to as chiefs when they are not connected to the ethos of chieftainship. From his sentiments it is clear that he is not a people’s chief but some British and American stooge.”
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo expressed shock at Chief Ndiweni’s utterances, saying he was singing from the same hymnbook with opposition parties.
“The chief stayed in the United Kingdom for 25 years and it is not surprising why he has a British mentality. While Zimbabweans are speaking with one voice against sanctions, it is quite disturbing to have people like him calling for sanctions which are hurting the ordinary people. Chief Ndiweni is speaking like a politician not a traditional leader, which effectively means that he is in a wrong place,” said Minister Moyo.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches Zimbabwe Council of Churches president Bishop Mpande Khanye also appealed to the international community to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“We implore the international community to remove sanctions. We reiterate our preferential option of the vulnerable, marginalised voiceless and those in the diaspora to be given an opportunity to voice their concerns and fully contribute to national dialogue as full citizens of our great nation,” he said. – @mashnets