Dethroned and exiled Ntabazinduna chief, Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni, says First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa is welcome to visit the area but should respect local cultural norms and values.
Mnangagwa is set to visit Ntabazinduna on Saturday, 18 June 2022 as part of her men’s engagement programmes.
During the engagements, the First Lady is discussing health issues affecting men and enhancing their involvement in efforts to curb domestic violence, drug abuse and child marriages among other issues.
In a petition dated 12 June directed to Matabeleland North provincial development coordinator Sithandiwe Ncube and copied to Umguza district development coordinator Tapiwa Zivovoyi, Ndiweni said:
The elders and village heads informed me that the First Lady is to visit Ntabazinduna on June 18. She is welcome. Her last visit was on November 9, 2018, when she launched a supplementary feeding programme for vulnerable children with food insecurity.
I bring this matter up with the hope that the First Lady’s visit does not become political. With respect to customs, traditions, practises and norms, the seat of the government of Zimbabwe in communal lands, is the chief‘s residence.
Customs and traditions dictate that such guests must enter the chief’s residence and greet the occupants. For he/she would not only be greeting the incumbent chief but also availing themselves to the chiefs who are gone, and so it is more than symbolic.
Ndiweni added that the First Lady’s willingness to fight teenage pregnancies and early marriages was appreciated. He wrote:
Under-age teenage girls are becoming pregnant, dropping out of school, having health issues, and entering toxic relationships that do not conform to our customs and traditions. It is for this reason that we welcome the First Lady.
The current economic challenges and lack of employment exacerbate the issue of the girl child.
Customs and traditions are not advancing the notion of early marriages but rather are there to support the immediate family and indeed the extended family.