If I had any respect for chieftaincy an as institution worth being associated with or celebrated, I may have been tempted to lunge at Minister of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa—and the government—for stepping aside while a trivial family matter turned into a national discourse.
I may even have demanded of Nankhumwa, for instance, to let us know what the Chiefs Act says about chieftaincies and whether the law provides extenuating circumstances under which members of the so-called royal families could depose a reigning chief for something as frivolous and subjective as insubordination or lacking duty of care to family members.
I may even have asked Nankhumwa and others in the know whether beyond the flowing gowns and the leopard skins, the flywhisks and the honorariums (which are needlessly draining public resources) and a not-so-good reputation for corruption, there was any other benefit why our courts are sagging under the weight of chieftaincy wrangles.
If I had that respect, I may even have been in the forefront demanding of chiefs to mend the social and cultural fabric that seems to have broken down irreparably under their watch—when they are supposed to be custodians of culture and tradition.
Unfortunately, I don’t have such respect! It is for that reason that I am watching the whole tedium of the Gomani chieftaincy circus with a bemused indifference.
Such is my detachment and disdain for royalty that I am loath to believe one family is born to lord over others in perpetuity. It is a dangerous precedent which certain ‘political families’ have embraced with gusto.
Reading between the lines in the wrangle, it is apparent it is not the interests of Maseko Ngonis that are at stake here. Paramount Chief Gomani V is not accused of dereliction of his traditional duties to the Maseko Ngonis as a group of people, but about his action or lack of actions towards his kith and kin. This is a family matter, which the family should have discussed behind closed doors.
Washing dirty linen in the public can only bring disdain on the family and contempt for chieftaincy as a unifying factor of people.