Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede has been sucked into a chieftainship and cultural wrangle after he allegedly revoked the burial order of a 61-year-old man from the same clan for allegedly marrying a relative.
The burial of Mr Enos Mutyavaviri Maurikira from Christon Bank, Mashonaland Central Province, had been stalled and his body had been lying at a local funeral parlour after officials from Mr Mudede’s office recalled the burial order only to give untenable conditions for its re-issuance.
Close relatives of the deceased were on Monday night mulling burying Mr Maurikira in Guruve, a rural home he left in 1999 when he got an offer letter for a farm in Christon Bank.
Investigations by The Herald showed that there had been bad blood between Mr Maurikira who wanted to be installed as Chief Hwata and rival family members, including Mr Mudede who were opposed to the installation.
Mr Maurikira had also been accused of soiling the sacred place of the Bungu family of the Hwata lineage, after he married a woman from the same clan and had been ordered to pay three beasts to cleanse himself.
The deceased’s eldest son, Derick (32) said he secured a burial order on Thursday in Centenary following the death of his father at the district hospital.
“I then surrendered it to a funeral parlour so that we could start preparing for the burial here at Christon Bank, initially on Friday.
“Firstly, I was told that Friday was a ‘chisi’ (a traditionally sacred day), so no burial could take place.
“But when we went to take the body on Friday for burial the following day, we were told that the burial order had been taken by officials from the RG’s office,” said Derick.
Derick said when they went to the RG’s office, they were asked to bring a letter from one of the community leaders — Mr Clever Goredema or Mr Gondokondo Chikuvanyanga — confirming that the deceased resided in Christon Bank.
“We found that to be strange because it is unprecedented. Besides Goredema, Chikuvanyanga and Mr Mudede had over the years been vocal in their opposition to my father’s (anointment) as Chief Hwata in several meetings that we held, some of which were attended by officials from the Ministry of Local Government,” he said.
Derick said that when he approached Goredema, he was asked to go to the spirit medium of Bungu, one of the descendants of Chief Hwata for direction in Chiweshe for appeasement.
“This marked the beginning of our problems up to this day,” he said.
Although Mr Mudede was unavailable for comment yesterday, Mr Chikuvanyanga (81) said the Registrar General was a son of the Hwata clan and participated in their meetings on chieftaincy.
“Please leave the name of Mr Mudede alone. He is a son of the Hwata clan and very conversant with these issues. He actually phoned me this afternoon about the issue that you are enquiring about.
How can he allow a person who has soiled this sacred place to be buried here without appeasement?
Would you allow it yourself if it was to happen at your home?” asked Mr Chikuvanyanga, who said he was an aide of the Mbuya Nehanda spirit medium.
Mr Chikuvanyanga said Mr Mudede had advised the family members to cleanse their father.
“He called me saying the relatives were in his office and told me that he had advised them to go to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing so that they have an appreciation of what it means to soil a sacred place.
The problem is that the deceased would not listen to advise, so Mr Mudede was merely giving advice since he is well aware of the history by virtue of him being a descendant of Hwata,” he said.
Mr Goredema echoed sentiments by Mr Chikuvanyanga that the deceased had spoilt the place when he married a close relative.
He said Mr Maurikira wanted to be Chief Hwata when there was one already.