Prime minister for the Zulu monarch-in-waiting, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is expected to address the media today, needs to clearly articulate the stance of the Zulu nation as more of its regiments flock to Nkandla in support of former president Jacob Zuma.
Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said the unsanctioned arrival of Zulu regiments in Nkandla meant that many in KwaZulu-Natal were no longer looking at Zuma’s looming arrest as a political war but an attack on the Zulu nation.
He said the arrival of the Zulu regiments was a message that they would fight to protect one of their own.
But, the clear act of defiance by the amabutho (traditional Zulu warriors) to stop authorities from arresting Zuma in Nkandla would create further divisions in the Zulu nation, which had already been plagued with issues of the throne, he said.
“This is no longer a South African matter. People are now looking at it as a Zulu matter where they need to protect one of their own.
“The prime minister needs to come to explain where they stand,” Mngomezulu said.
Prince Buthelezi issued a statement over the weekend after the official leader of the Zulu regiments, Zihogo Nhleko, arrived at Zuma’s homestead on Saturday.
Buthelezi said the royal family distanced themselves from Nhleko’s actions, adding that in his act of defiance he had implicated the royal family.
Buthelezi said the regiments had also performed the Zulu salute, Bayede, in the absence of the king.
“His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, together with the Queen Mother, Her Majesty Queen Mayvis maZungu, and the Zulu royal family, wish to distance themselves from the actions of Mr Zihogo Maguzumbela Nhleko, known to many as Mgilija,” said Buthelezi.
“We have noted that Mr Nhleko led a group of people dressed in Zulu attire and accoutrements to Nkandla to join those who are sympathising with the former president, Mr Jacob Zuma. Mr Nhleko did this without any instruction from the king or the royal family, or from me as the traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch and nation,” he added.
He said the royal family did not encourage people to defy regulations. He never sent Mr Nhleko to Nkandla, nor did he instruct him to go.
“While it has nothing to do with sympathy for the former president, the king does not want to involve the royal family or himself in what Mr Nhleko and those who accompanied him did. It was a clear act of defiance,” said Buthelezi.
Political analyst Mngomezulu said the reality was that this event had torn a nation and the Zulu people apart.
While he did not pre-empt what Buthelezi would say, Mngomezulu said it was important that clear lines were drawn as to where the Zulu household and nation stood.