BULAWAYO – Political activists in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city of Bulawayo held a solidarity march in support of outspoken Ntabazinduna chief, Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, following alleged attacks on him by suspected members of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation in Bulawayo.
Zimbabweans across regional divide expressed support for the motor-mouth chief, who himself has not escaped controversy with his anti-Zanu (PF) utterances, after he was allegedly accosted by people who claimed to be from the President’s Office (ceremonial name for CIO), who tried to confiscate his state-owned vehicle in the Bulawayo city centre Wednesday.
The alleged attacks happened after chief Ndiweni made what were viewed by the ruling party as anti-government utterance in which he called for the further tightening of sanctions against the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The chief reportedly said Mnangagwa would not finish his term of office, which lapses in 2023, because the Zanu (PF) leader was failing to pump life into the country’s ailing economy.
Demonstrations were held under the “I stand with Chief Ndiweni #Hands off our traditional leaders” banner and was held at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo statue.
Speaking during the demonstration, the director of Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation, Mthulisi Hanana said Chief Ndiweni was being persecuted for speaking out.
“He is fighting our rights, we are prepared to stand for our chief as the invasion of the Ntabazinduna Mountain is undermining our chief,” said Hanana.
The foundation, in conjunction with pro-secessionist rights grouping, 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement, sang songs pointing out the ills of the government and speaking against alleged corrupt acts by officials.
Hanana argued that sanctions were justified for as long as ZANU PF didn’t change its manner of doing things. The chief Ndiweni saga began hard on the heels of the traditional leader’s recent clashes with Zanu (PF) over the government’s attempts to evict a white commercial farmer, Brian Davies from Tabas Induna Farm.
Police driving armoured trucks came out in full force to the demonstrations, something that irked many among the protesters.
“We are busy facing fuel challenges yet the police come in full force with their tanks and we can’t even demonstrate peacefully, which is the same reason we are here. Chief Ndiweni speaks the truth, bringing into light the ills of the government yet he is being attacked. We are against attacking those who stand up for the truth,” said one Ntombizodwa Ncube.
“We saw tthe Zanu Pf youths in a vehicle that was written Umguza district attacking our chief and we are prepared to stand with our chief,” explained Hanana.