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Mangosuthu Buthelezi advises King Misuzulu against creating position for deputy traditional prime minister

King Misuzulu and Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi during the commemoration of the Anglo-Zulu War in Nquthu northern KZN. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

King Misuzulu and Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi during the commemoration of the Anglo-Zulu War in Nquthu northern KZN. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 11, 2022

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Durban - As King Misuzulu kaZwelithini slowly starts to assert his authority as the ruler of the Zulu nation and ponders on critical appointments, he has been warned not to make decisions that are against historical hierarchy.

In one warning, Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional prime minister of the monarch and the nation, warned the 47 years-old King not to create a new position of deputy traditional prime minister.

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In a letter Buthelezi privately wrote to the King and seen by the Daily News, he said he heard long ago that Prince Mthokozisi Mahlobo had been earmarked for the position.

“Your Majesty, I have no problem with you appointing anyone you deem to be fit for the position. I heard a long time ago that Prince Mthokozisi Mahlobo will be installed as traditional prime minister, and I have no issues with that,” reads the letter, which was written in Zulu.

Furthermore, he stated, categorically, that he has no qualms with that since the position is not hereditary to the Buthelezi clan, as his detractors often claim.

He also said it was true that even the late King Goodwill Zwelithini did not appoint him to the position. Instead, he was appointed by the late King Cyprian Bhekuzulu in 1954.

Since then, he has held that position, and he would often ask the late King Goodwill Zwelithini to appoint his own traditional prime minister, but all that fell on deaf ears, and he was continuously given royal duties to execute.

The traditional prime minister's role is a critical one. Among its roles is being empowered to call royal meetings and mediate disputes within the royal court.

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Now, Buthelezi wants the King to refrain from creating a position that has never been there in the 206-year history of the Zulu national. He supported his assertion by clawing back the historical archives of the nation and its past traditional prime ministers.

Apparently, his concern stems from a private conversation the King had with Prince Ntuthukoyezwe Buthelezi (Buthelezi’s son) that he wanted to create the position.

“When you told Ntuthukoyezwe that you want to appoint a deputy prime minister, that there is something amiss. That position has never been there, as I have shown when counting all former prime ministers of the Zulu monarch. Instead of doing what has never been done in history by appointing a deputy prime minister, I would advise that you simply appoint a prime minister,” Buthelezi further wrote to the King.

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It is understood that King Misuzulu wants to create the position and give it to Mahlobo, one of his cousins who is the son of Princess Nozipho Zulu. Mahlobo would then take over from Buthelezi when he retires or something happens to him.

Buthelezi’s spokesperson, Liezl van der Merwe, said the letter was meant for the King, and they are not willing to talk about it.

“This letter is not addressed to the media, nor is it a public document. It is addressed to the King. It is not a matter for public consumption, discussion or commentary. If you have a specific question, please ask it. But Prince Buthelezi is not prepared to discuss private correspondence,” said Van der Merwe when asked about the letter's content.

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King Misuzulu’s spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu, when asked when the ruler intends to appoint his new prime minister, he said there is no hurry as there is no vacancy.

“You can only appoint if there is a vacancy. Right now, there is no vacancy, and I think the King is happy with the work of the Prince of KwaPhindangene (Buthelezi),” he said.

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