Marange chieftainship challenged: Report

Chieftainship currently held by Bernard Makungauta Murwira

Lovemore Lubinda|ZimNews.net

The Marange chieftainship currently held by Bernard Makungauta Murwira, who was installed in October this year, the 19th substantive Chief Marange which came after 11 years of internal fighting as clan members failed to agree on the candidate is being challenged by the Mutsago clan who claims the right to the chieftainship.

In a letter which was copied to Chief Chiduku, Chief Charumbira, and Chief Marange, which was seen by ZimNews.net, the clan pointed out that the Mutsagos are the rightful owner to the Marange chieftainship throne. The letter was also copied to Provincial Administrator of Manicaland, Mutare District Administrator, and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Rural Development.

The letter narrates that the post-colonial phase of Zimbabwe and the political history of the Bocha is known to have been dominated by three tribes; Nechipindirwe’s Nzou Maringa group, Marange’s Shava Nhuka group, and the Mutsago group which share the Shava Nhuka with Marange.

It states that Mutsago ancestor Ushaga was the first of the Shava Nhuka groups to set up residents in Bocha before Mutekwatekwa the ancestor of the Marange group who was living across the Save River, present day Buhera.

According to the oral evidence from the Mutsago, Ushaga also referred to as Maradza after his domination of Bocha over its original ruler Nechipindirwe and his Nzou group, took in his brother’s son Mutekwatekwa whom he gave dominion over the northern part of the chiefdom. The two co-existed well until the coming in of the whites who then recognised the Marange family which had control of the northern part as the over lords of the whole Bocha territory, relegating Mutsago to the post of a headman under Marange.

The Mutsago clan claim that their resistance to the changes brought by the whites was well documented in the colonial records, pointing out that he was chief in his own right, which was indirectly confirmed by the fact that he was paid the equal amount of 36 pounds, the figure that was at par with Chief Mutasa and Marange himself, receipts seen by Zim News confirmed that.

Mutsago’s official recognition hit its lowest in the 1940s, when he was further demoted from headman to Kraal head, and efforts to reclaim the headmanship were resisted by the colonial administration (Circular from Native Commissioner- Umtali dated 1st June 1950 reference number- 671/12277/27/50).

After being appointed as successor to the deceased Mutsago Madziire; Mukwikwi, the new appointed still challenged the colonial regime over the issue, he was deposed on 1st December 1972 with Hwamirepi appointed in his place, though unsuccessful, the challenge continued in 1973.

Marange himself did not challenge Mutsago’s assertion, available archival records reveal that it was the Native District Commissioner who fought in his corner. Though Zim News could not get a comment from Chief Marange, according to a detailed account tracing the Mutsago’s claim to the Marange Chieftainship, the authors sought his comment, but, were reported to have been told by the then acting Chief Marange Gilbert Gomo, that he would contact them after consulting his spirit mediums.

The Mutsago clan in the letter, says it is not seeking to dethrone Marange of the chieftainship, but only want a portion of it.

The Mutsago clan has two houses eligible for the chieftainship; Chiwawaya and Magapa, of which the eldest surviving member of the sub-house which must provide the next chief is supposed to be nominated.