VILLAGERS at Lochard Farm in Matabeleland South are up in arms with area leader Chief Jahana Ndumiso Khumalo, who is accused of fueling tribalism by issuing instructions to locals to boot out all Shona speaking villagers from key Zanu PF posts.
Chief Jahana is said to have issued the directive on March 4 together with Filabusi Rural District Council chairperson, a DK Mpofu, at a meeting in Ward 22.
Villages said they now live in fear that violence might erupt anytime as tensions are already high.
They said when they occupied the settlement area, spearheaded by war veterans, they did not do so on tribal lines.
A group of villagers yesterday told Southern Eye that they were planning to demonstrate against Chief Jahana.
Clifford Mashona is the Zanu PF chairman for the ward.
“Chief Jahana and Mpofu called for a meeting at Lochard on March 4 saying they wanted to address issues.
“However, during his address, Chief Jahana surprised villagers when he said he was not happy that all key village posts were occupied by Shona-speaking people.
“He said that should change and he was not happy with the set-up,” a representative of the villagers, who chose anonymity said.
“That surprised us.
“We did not expect that from a leader who should foster unity among his subjects.”
Another villager said the chief should abdicate his post, as he was a divisive person.
“He found us living in harmony, but now that is being eroded by his reckless statements,” the villager said.
Contacted for comment, Chief Jahana denied fuelling tribalism saying “I did address the meeting, but I am not a tribalist”, before hanging up his mobile. Villagers claimed Chief Jahana wanted to replace the present representatives with his hand-picked ones and they were already intimidating locals.
“These people are now intimidating our children saying council will demolish our homesteads before the end of March,” the villager said.
“Where do they expect us to go?”