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PICTURES: 'Ndebele king' coronation goes ahead in private

RIOT police yesterday blocked the coronation of self-proclaimed Ndebele King, Stanley Raphael Khumalo, which was scheduled for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Hall in Bulawayo, however, rumour has it that Khumalo was coronated at a private ceremony.

Khumalo recently declared himself as the new Ndebele King and unveiled a new Mthwakazi flag before announcing September 12 as the day of his coronation.

Over 500 people, mostly clad in traditional regalia, turned up at the ZITF Hall to attend Khumalo's coronation, but found riot police having barricaded the venue.

Attempts to negotiate with the police to allow the ceremony to go ahead failed and Khumalo's spokesperson, Greater Sibanda, said they had no option, but to postpone the event to a later date.

Khumalo's secretary-general, Bhekuvuyo Mguni, said they had given due notice to the police and were cleared to hold the event.

He said they produced their clearance letter dated September 6 to the police, but to their surprise police blocked them access into the venue of the coronation.

Last week, police arrested Khumalo at his home in Paddonhurst and detained him at Bulawayo Central Police Station as they confiscated several documents linked to his Mthwakazi restoration agenda.

Khumalo's actions to declare himself the Ndebele king have divided opinion in Matabeleland, with secessionists supporting him, while the Khumalo clan has dismissed him as an impostor.

The Khumalo clan has said there is an agreed successor whom they would "unveil at the right time".

Lobengula was the last king after the British Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes destroyed the Ndebele Kingdom in 1893.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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