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Chief Zwelodumo Mtirara, a UDM Member of Parliament has resigned his position as MP in order to serve his Tembu tribe as acting paramount chief, substituting the current incumbent Paramount Chief Buyelekaya Dalinyebo son of the late Sabata Dalinyebo who died in exile in Lusaka in the 1980s.

Representatives of the Tembu tribe approached the President of the UDM, Bantu Holomisa, to ask him and his party to release Chief Mtirara so that he can go and serve his people as acting paramount chief because it appears, all is not well at the Tembu Great Place. Indeed subsequent to this meeting Chief Ndaba Mtirara was briefed at a meeting of Tembu Chiefs which took place a the former State President Nelson Mandela's residence in Qunu. Our members of the UDM caucus were kept informed of this interaction with the Tembu Chiefs, and they fully endorsed our party's decision to agree to the release of Chief Ndaba Mtirara.

We have allowed Chief Mtirara to exercise his freedom of choice and consequently accepted his resignation from Parliament to set him free to play his chosen role as acting paramount chief of the Tembus.

It is hoped that this move is the expression of the Tembu royalty and its subjects and will enable Chief Mtirara to serve his tribe in a non-partisan role, hence the UDM's willingness to release the Chief, one of its staunch supporters, to take on the non-partisan and non-political responsibility of serving his tribe.

The UDM understands that former President of the ANC and firs president of free South Africa, Dr Nelson Mandela, himself of Tembu royal stock, is the chief architect of these Tembu palace changes. There is concern however, that this dramatic turn of events may have political motives. Former President Mandela is known  to have resented Paramount Chief Buyelekaya Dalinyebo's overt support for the UDM, whereas his predecessor father was an open ANC supporter and activist. If these rumours have any basis, Chief Mtirara's ascendancy to the Tembu royal throne will be fraught with problems and might well divide the Tembu tribe. The Tembus would also find it difficult to reconcile Chief Mtirara's sudden switch of political allegiance if his succession is designed to improve the political fortunes of the ANC in the Dalinyebo region which overwhelmingly voted for the UDM in the December 2000 municipal elections.

We therefore thank Chief Mtirara for the sterling role he played in both Parliament and outside. We wish Chief Ndaba Mtirara well in addressing the problems cited by the chiefs who came to request his release. I also wish to express my conviction that he will no doubt succeed in resolving these problems.

Mr Dickson Mkono of Ngqeleni district, Eastern Cape, who is next on the UDM election list for the National Assembly will replace Chief Ndaba Mtirara.

Mr Bantu Holomisa
UDM President

Cape Town
14 March 2001

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