Monday 23 May 2022


FIVE chiefs stormed out of a meeting with the Tsholotsho Rural District Council councillors on Thursday after one of the councillors shockingly accused them of politicking and lying to the Government on the procedures that were followed leading to the slashing of elephant trophy fees from US$40 000 to US$10 000.

The councillor, from Ward Eight, Christopher Sibanda, claimed the chiefs were trying to impose their preferred persons as councillors.

First to walk out of the meeting at the council chambers was Chief Gampu, who signed on behalf of the chiefs, the hard-hitting letter that also accused some councillors of corruption that has seen them acquiring unexplained wealth soon after the jumbos were sold.

A council insider told Chronicle that Cllr Sibanda, representing councillors, first read the letter that the chiefs wrote to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo complaining about how the council handled the whole elephant trophy sales issue and corruption claims. After finishing, he then shot from the hip and accused the cultural custodians of politicking and misrepresenting facts to the Government.

“Everyone inside the Chambers was taken aback except a few councillors because before the meeting councillors had a short caucus chaired by council chairman Esau Siwela where they agreed not to bow down to the demands of the chiefs. After those utterances by Cllr Sibanda, Chief Gampu, who was the signatory to the letter, immediately walked out of the room in clear anger as he felt the insult was directed at him,” said the insider.

As the drama unfolded, there was a brief moment of silence before Cllr Siwela requested the District Development Coordinator (DDC), Mr Aaron Gono to engage the traditional leaders, the source said.

The discussions between Mr Gono and the four chiefs, Chief Siphoso, Chief Mathuphula, Chief Tategulu and Chief Magama, were held outside the council chambers but yielded no positive outcome as the Chiefs told Mr Gono that they could no longer continue with the meeting since one of them had already walked out and showed no intentions of returning.

“The chiefs went back to the Chambers, collected their diaries and drove off,” said the source.

Contacted for comment, Chief Magama confirmed that the meeting did not end well but said he could not add more “because council has dispatched a delegation to apologise to us. ”

Cllr Siwela also confirmed the unusual scenario and said that he apologised on behalf of the councillor whom he chose not to name.

“Indeed, we had a meeting with the chiefs and committees for natural resources and the Campfire project. I think at the start of the meeting there was a comment from one councillor who said they have been doing a lot for the chiefs from Campfire funds so they must not claim that nothing was being done for them.


“He then went on to say the chiefs must not criticise councillors as if they have their own people that they want to be councillors. I think that was an unfortunate statement. I apologised on his behalf but it seems that statement did not go down well with Chief Gampu who walked out of the meeting. Chief Tategulu said the meeting must stick to the agenda instead of dwelling on unrelated issues.


“However, Chief Mathuphula said before the meeting could continue, the councillor must first withdraw his statement which was done but Chief Siphoso said while the withdrawal had been done the meeting could no longer continue in the absence of Chief Gampu,” said Cllr Siwela.

Mr Gono said the chiefs walked out because they felt they were being attacked, belittled and disrespected by their subjects, especially when the whole agenda of the meeting was basically meant to bring the two parties together.

“What happened was really so unfortunate, the meeting was meant for the two parties to smoke the peace pipe but the chiefs felt attacked by utterances from the Ward Eight councillor, in particular, Chief Gampu because he was the one who signed the letter on behalf of the other chiefs.

“This meeting also came following recommendations by the Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister Marian Chombo but unfortunately, an unexpected situation happened,” said Mr Gono. Chronicle




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