King Goodwill Zwelethini wants to restore relations with a senior prince who has rivalled Mangosuthu Buthelezi for 26 years, reports Farouk Chothia
ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini wants an urgent meeting with a senior prince who is Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezis rival for the post of traditional prime minister to the monarch.
Sources close to the Zulu royal house said this week that Prince Mcwayizeni Israel Zulu — locked in a 26-year feud with Buthelezi — would meet Zwelithini any time now in a bid to restore relations between them. They last met several years ago.
Mcwayizeni, a member of the ANCs national executive committee (NEC), has always insisted that he is the rightful senior adviser (traditional prime minister) to the monarch, by virtue of the fact that he is the most senior prince in the royal family. He acted as regent before Zwelithini was officially installed as the Zulu monarch in 1971.
At the time of Zwelethinis coronation, Mcwayizeni announced that Buthelezi was to be excluded from a proposed royal council to advise the monarch. In 1979, Buthelezi accused Mcwayizeni and the king of attempting to form an opposition party in the kwaZulu homeland.
But as Buthelezi entrenched himself in the homeland, he kept tight control over Zwelithini and Mcwayizeni found himself sidelined.
Zwelethinis request to meet Mcwayizeni as a matter of urgency was conveyed to him through another non-IFP prince and bypassed Buthelezi. The move raises the questions: will he now opt for Mcwayizeni as his senior adviser, and will the prince attend the Shaka Day celebration at Shakas tomb in Stanger in two weeks time?
Sources said this week that obstacles in the way of Mcwayizenis appointment include his positions as member of the NEC and as MP in the national assembly. They said Zwelithini strongly believes that his close confidante should not belong to any political party as he wants to adopt a non- partisan stance amid the conflict between the IFP and ANC.
It is now more clear than ever that Buthelezi enjoys the title of traditional prime minister in name only. Zwelithini has hardly been seen with Buth-elezi in public since the April elections.
He issued an invitation to President Nelson Mandela to attend the Shaka Day celebration without in- forming Buthelezi.
Buthelezi told the WM&G this week that he was unaware of another Shaka Day celebration, to be held in Msinga in northern Natal the day after the Stanger celebration — a function Zwelithini is expected to attend.
In a statement late last week, ANC kwaZulu/Natal spokesman Dumi-sani Makhaye said: Chief Buthelezi must understand that he has only two positions — that of minister of home affairs and, privately, the president of the IFP. He has never been the so- called traditional prime minister of the king. Nobody has ever appointed Buthelezi to that position.
With Buthelezi stripped of his special relationship with the royal house, the IFP may find it difficult to hold on to its traditional support base in kwaZulu/Natal in the run-up to next years local government elections.