The Sunday Mail
A messy fight has erupted in Nyanga over the Sanyanga chieftainship which is supposed to be resuscitated after it was abolished 67 years ago by the white colonial regime.
The clash emerged after the Manicaland Provincial Assembly of Chiefs chose Edward Sanyanga as the heir amidst a raging dispute over his suitability.
Manicaland Provincial Administrator Mr Edgar Seenza wrote to the Sanyanga family on January 31, 2019 confirming that Edward was recommended by the Provincial Assembly of Chiefs as Chief Sanyanga.
The Sanyanga chieftainship covers the Nyanga area where the Nyangani Mountain is located.
This sacred mountain is where some international tourists allegedly disappeared for disrespecting the traditional values of the area.
Historical researches say the last chief of Nyanga was Shumbamhini who was killed by the white settlers in 1905 after which Headman Magwendere reigned over the area until 1951.
Chief Shumbamhini who was the seventh chief of the Nyanga area was allegedly poisoned and then beheaded before his head was taken to Germany.
The Sanyanga clan raised a host of grievances against Edward whom they allege is not of their blood but belonged to the Matsungo clan.
In part the document which was submitted to Mr Seenza reads, “Edward is not of the Simboti totem. This is a crucial requirement for one to qualify as chief under the Sanyanga clan. His family name — Sanyanga — is an adopted one as his father was raised by a stepfather who was a Sanyanga.
“This is because his paternal grandfather, a Matsungo of the Shumba Mutasa totem, divorced his grandmother who went away with a son and later married into the Sanyanga family of the Simboti totem.
“This is the reason why he said the first house in the chieftainship which he is trying to fraudulently create is Matsungo. There is no Matsungo of the Simboti totem but a Shumba Mutasa. Therefore, Edward does not qualify to be a chief as he is not one of us. He should be grateful that we raised him in our clan and it ends there.”
The Sanyanga Clan is demanding that the Manicaland Provincial Assembly of Chiefs re-look into the chieftainship issue and give them a platform to fully explain the matter.
They claim that the chair of the Provincial Assembly of Chiefs, Chief Makumbe was allegedly biased towards Edward.
A series of meetings which were held in Nyanga for the past years failed to yield positive results as Chief Makumbe allegedly turned a deaf ear to the grievances raised by the Sanyanga family.
“The Sanyanga clan expresses reservations at the manner in which Chief Makumbe handled the meeting to install Chief Sanyanga at the Nyanga District Administrator’s offices on May 15, 2018. Chief Makumbe was clearly biased against the Sanyanga clan members represented by over 100 people in favour of a small group led by Chief Tangwena’s village head Edward Sanyanga,” reads part of the grievances.
Contacted for comment, Chief Makumbe confirmed that there was a long-running dispute over the Sanyanga chieftainship.
“There has always been a fight and the Sanyanga people are very temperamental. However, I have not received any official complaints regarding the Sanyanga chieftainship. There is nothing on my desk,” he said.
Chief Makumbe explained that there was an acute shortage of resources to deal with the matters related to resuscitation of chieftainships.
“Government has not budgeted for new chiefs; when resources permit, we will look into at the outstanding issue.”
Chief Makumbe told The Sunday Mail that the Manicaland Provincial Assembly of Chiefs investigated the Sanyanga chieftainship and realized that Edward was the first to submit his paperwork for the resuscitation of the chieftaincy.
However, the Sanyanga clan tells a different story.
The family allege that their files went missing from the Nyanga District Administrator’s office, resulting in Edward’s paperwork being filed.
“The rightful heir to the throne should be chosen from the Masoko family. The Sanyanga family should have the last say as to who should be the next chief,” said a family spokesman Mr George Gumiro.
“Our family spirit mediums told us in 1998 at a meeting at Makosvo Village in Seke area that we should claim the chieftainship which was first occupied by Firakutumwa. This is Sanyanga issue of which Edward does not belong to this family as he is a Matsungo. Edward is also under Chief Tangwena’s payroll as a headman, so how he want to cross from the Tangwena chieftaincy to the Nyanga area. That’s impossible.”
Manicaland Provincial Administrator Mr Seenza confirmed that there was a dispute which has since been referred to the Provincial Assembly of Chiefs.
“We don’t decide on the matters; the chiefs handle these,” he said.
Approached for comment, Edward Sanyanga said, “Those who are disputing my chieftainship are ignorant of the Sanyanga clan or chieftainship. I will not argue neither will I discuss the matter with you.
“The matter is now at the (provincial) chiefs’ council and we are now waiting for the final outcome, so at the moment I will not say anything.”