As First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa is this Saturday expected to visit Ntabazinduna for a men’s engagement programme, she must respect the cultural norms and values of the people from that part of the country, a former traditional leader of that area has said.

In a petition dated 12 June, 2022, that was directed to Matabeleland North provincial development coordinator Sithandiwe Ncube and copied to Umguza district development coordinator Tapiwa Zivovoyi,  exiled former Ntabazinduna chief, Nhlanhlayamangwe Felix Ndiweni implored on the First Lady to be observant of the cultural norms, values and practices of the people of Ntabazinduna.

On Tuesday, the First Lady was in Bulawayo to meet men at the Large City Hall and is set to visit Ntabazinduna on Saturday.

“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 on food insecurity,” partly reads Ndiweni’s petition.

Ndiweni also added saying:

“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.”

As the NewsDay reported, Ndiweni also expressed concern over two secondary schools in the area that have  recorded highest number of teenage pregnancies.

“Under-age teenage girls are becoming pregnant, dropping out of school, having health issues, 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 exacerbates 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,” Ndiweni wrote.

Ncube is yet to respond to the petition.