Mbabane: Ludzidzini Governor Lusendvo Fakudze has condemned in the strongest terms the stance on the part of the Luyengweni Chiefdom to engage in the land dispute at Mhlabubovu near Bhunya, which has unfortunately ended in the death of two men.
The two men, an ex-police officer, Simon Shongwe and a community police member identified as a Tsabedze were fatally shot by ex LaMgabhi Member of Parliament and Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini on Sunday morning, September 7 at Mhlabubovu Traffic Circle. One other person was injured on his hand and is admitted at one of the hospitals in the country.
Fakudze said the incident is very shocking and they are busy working towards bringing such tendencies to an end. He said their majesties have the final say in matters of land and it was long pronounced that Mhlabubovu falls under the LaMgabhi chiefdom. He reminded that chiefdoms are an extension of the Kingdom and are ultimately run by the King who has delegated responsibility to chiefs.
Fakudze mentioned that both parties should be held responsible for the incident, as gunshots were allegedly fired from both sides. He said in fact, aiming a bullet at a person is prohibited and frowned at even by their majesties, adding that even firing at an animal is criminal offence. “People are not trees but are made of flesh and they should be treated as such,” said the governor.
The fatal incident which happened at the Mhlabubovu Traffic Circle, a stone’s throw to Ntuthuko’s shopping complex, is a result of a land dispute between LaMgabhi and Luyengweni chiefdoms under the late Chief Ndzimanye II and Chief Lembelele, respectively. The Luyengweni Chiefdom is alleged to be allocating land to people despite that it was made clear to them that the area falls under LaMgabhi.
The murdered men were reportedly from Luyengweni and were part of a group that is alleged to be illegally allocating land to people. The ex-Minister is reported to have acted in self-defense and alleged that they were the ones who initially drew their weapons against him.
He also alleged that one of the men, Shongwe, drew a gun first and shot at him but missed, which led to him allegedly opening fire.
Ntuthuko is also reported to have said it was distressing that the Luyengweni chiefdom continually defies the ruling by His Majesty the King Mswati III who pronounced Mhlabubovu as being under LaMgabhi and no-where else. The men are said to have been armed with an assortment of weapons, including a bush knives and knobkerries, which they drew out. The ex-minister is said to have reacted after a gunshot was fired at him, which missed him, where-after he drew out his own gun and shot at the ex-police officer, who also carried a gun.
The ex-officer is said to have fallen down after he was shot once, but despite sprawling on the ground he reached out to his gun which is when the ex-minister finished him off.
Ntuthuko mentioned that the other man, the community police member then charged towards him, which is when Dlamini shot him on the chest and he fell to the ground. Dlamini shot the third person, who allegedly wielded a knobkerrie, injuring his hand.
King Sobhuza II
The matter of where Mhlabubovu falls was first decided in 1947 by His Majesty King Sobhuza II and also by His Majesty King Mswati III on three other occasions, the last one being in 2016, according to Ludzidzini Governor, Lusendvo Fakudze.
In 2016, members of the King’s advisory body, Liqoqo, informed residents and leaders of both chiefdoms that Chief Ndzimanye II was the rightful ruler of the area. The meeting was attended by the then Manzini Regional Administrator, Prince Gcokoma, and delivering the message from His Majesty the King was Liqoqo Secretary Mandla Dlamini.
Chief Ndzimanye II died in 2019 after a long illness which also saw him taking early from the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) and according to the former minister, before his demise, he (chief) directed him to deal with issues of people who live at Mhlabubovu. Dlamini said there were now about 23 people who had been allocated land at Mhlabubovu by the Luyengweni Inner Council.
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