Dagga king fights for his throne

2014-07-27 15:00

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Chief Mandla Mandela has been accused of masterminding a bid to dethrone AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

“Mandla has been working to get rid of our king for some time now – he and some chiefs have been plotting against him and now I am sure they are happy this is happening,” said one furious

AbaThembu chief who asked to remain anonymous.

“It seems this whole move was concluded when [President Jacob] Zuma was in Mvezo on July 18 for Madiba’s birthday. They have started a war because we are going to defend our king.”

Mandela refused to comment, though he and Dalindyebo have long been at odds.

Last year, they had a serious public fallout after the king declared that Mandela was not the legitimate chief of Mvezo, and Mandela responded by calling Dalindyebo “delusional”.

On Friday, a government delegation led by Charles Nwaila, the cooperative governance and traditional affairs director-general, met with the king’s representatives at Nkululekweni in Mthatha.

They presented a letter from Zuma asking Dalindyebo to give reasons he should not be removed from the throne within 30 days or his certificate of recognition as the king should not be withdrawn.

Senior AbaThembu chief Mfundo Mtirara said AmaDlomo (the royal family) would meet today, and they will hold a bigger meeting on Tuesday with the AbaThembu chiefs.

“These two meetings will culminate in a general meeting of the entire AbaThembu nation, who will then give a mandate and direction of what needs to be done in this situation,” he said.

An AbaThembu chief, who also asked not to be named, said the removal was a case of history repeating itself.

“[Buyelekhaya’s] father, King Sabata Dalindyebo, was dethroned by the Transkei government because of his involvement with the liberation struggle.

“We never thought that his son will go through the same thing under a democratic government. It’s a sad day for the AbaThembu nation,” said the chief.

The Reverend Simon Tafa, chairperson of the AbaThembu royal council, said the king would seek legal advice and was talking to a number of attorneys, including Advocate Dali Mpofu, about how to respond to Zuma’s letter.

Tafa said Mandela was not the only person involved in calling for the king’s removal.

“But we are also mindful of the fact that [Mandla] was part of this action. Mandla is part of the royal family that wrote to President Zuma for King Dalindyebo to be removed,” Tafa said.

It was Tafa who received the letter on Dalindyebo’s behalf, and said the king had seemed calm and relaxed on Friday upon hearing the news.

“But this morning [Saturday], the king seemed a little disturbed and affected by the news. He is shattered that what happened to his father is now happening to him.”

The letter has been a long time in coming: in 2012, several AbaThembu leaders wrote to Zuma asking that Dalindyebo be removed because his behaviour was not fit for a king.

Daludumo Mtirara, spokesperson for the royal family for the Kingdom of AbaThembu, which wrote the letter, said they had been vindicated.

“Traditionally, we took a decision in 2012 to remove the royal spear from Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo. This means he has not been king since then, we were just waiting for formalities on the part of government,” Mtirara said.

“We don’t have a king at the moment as far as we are concerned.”

Mtirara said Dalindyebo had embarrassed the nation by publicly smoking dagga and making outrageous statements.

He has called Zuma “a liar who doesn’t use condoms”, and, late last year, ordered his own wife out of a funeral, calling her “a bitch”. He announced last year that he was joining the DA.

Dalindyebo has also been convicted of assault, kidnapping and arson, which earned him a 15-year sentence, which he is in the process of appealing.

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