Masvingo Chiefs Take Econet To Court Over Shrine

Two Masvingo chiefs have taken Econet Wireless to court accusing it of defiling a shrine by exhuming bodies and destroying relics as they were setting up a base station.

Chief Murinye (Ephias Munodawafa) and acting Chief Mugabe (Matubede Mudavanhu) say they want construction of the base station to be stopped immediately. Econet have a lease agreement for the space with the Masvingo Rural District Council.

It does open up a can of worms doesn’t it? Maybe it is not obvious to dear readers, but it asks the question, what is more important, tradition or technology?

Econet want to set up a base station which will improve communication for people in that area. The chiefs want those shrines kept in place for religious and traditional reasons. Who should be given precedence in this case? Should the religion of the chiefs be allowed to override communication, 21st century technology brought to the homes of people who only hear about it on radio?

It is a tough one. Perhaps consultation with chiefs over such issues should be done. Perhaps it is a case of oversight and can easily be sorted out over a bira or something. But then again, Econet sees itself as quite christian and will not share brew with the pagans, will it?

  • EMA

    What does the environment impact assessment report say? where were the chiefs when the environment impact assessment was made?

    • Was there one made?

      • Slow_B_O_Dan

        I am not sure about an EIA but some reports say the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe carried out a cultural heritage impact assessment study and made some recommendations which econet seem to have disregarded.

        • Well that makes it very interesting doesn’t it? The ‘christian’ aspect is a huge cause of disregard in this country.

          • Slow_B_O_Dan

            Quite interesting indeed.

          • Maybe there needs to be a cultural re-awakening

          • Slow_B_O_Dan

            A serious cultural re-awakening. We need to be conscious,proud and protective of our traditions and culture, how can we expect respect from others when we do not have respect for ourselves.

          • That is the truth

          • Meya weVanhu

            Let us not rush to point fingers at Christianity. Just because @Slow_B_O_Dan says so does not mean Econet actually did
            disregard recommendations made by NMMZ. Where is the proof that there are any? Besides, If the Chiefs (and/or NMMZ) have a strong case, they should take that up
            with the RDC, which leased the piece of land in the first place. I
            actually think (note: think = MY opinion) the RDC is the one liable for suing – but then again
            kungotsvagawo cash pataundi!

  • Njelele

    Will the spirits play havoc on the network if econet forces through the construction. Possibilities, the Duma will receive phantom calls, sms,and mms from their long departed, midzimu will manifest and apparitions will appear on whatsapp attachments. Will there be a compromise and the traditionalists will allow the project to go ahead on condition that a cleansing ceremony and some rituals be perfomed on the site and some mombe and mbudzi be paid? perhaps econet will undertake to ensure that only content deemed “clean” be allowed to be transmitted by this base station sited on sacred ground ie nor lurid language, swear words, nudity ,porn , indecent content etc?………

  • Slow_B_O_Dan

    I think its tradition vs technology and ‘christianity’. The Masvingo RDC guys should have known about the importance of the site before leasing it to econet. Did they disregard this traditional importance because they subscribe to a different religionbelief system? If econet was not aware of the significance of the place before commencement, they should have halted work and consulted the local elders and sought an amicable resolution, again econet showed some disregard if not contempt of the traditional beliefs of the local people. Now the Chiefs should deal objectively with this issue and not be greedy as some reports say they are making other superfluous demands eg that econet builds them or upgardes their homes or some such demands. There was also some friction between the Chiefs about the matter of determining under whose jurisdiction the site lies and therefore who should resolve the matter and benefit therefrom.

    • Traditional customs must be preserved. Otherwise, what do we have?

      • Slow_B_O_Dan

        perhaps a very technologically advanced nation, with no customs no values no cultural identity. Technologically connected, Ubuntu disconnected.

        • That is a real worry in this country. Reason why we easily give away our liberties and economic power to the highest bidder

  • Slow_B_O_Dan

    Can someone please educate me: Is it that the base station has to be pin point located on this site? Ok, maybe its the optimum location but would an alternate second best location lead to so much loss of efficacy such that econet has to stick to desecrating the contentious site?

    • It is a matter of whether due diligence is beinhg carried out for these things