The misFortune of a tribalist chief

Luke Tamborinyoka


By Luke Tamborinyoka

Chief Fortune Charumbira, the leader of the country’s chiefs’ council and head of the pan-African Parliament, recently torched a storm when he reportedly suggested that Advocate Nelson Chamisa should not challenge Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa for the post of President simply because both of them are of the Karanga tribe.

Speaking at the funeral of Harare mayor Jacob Mafume’s mother in Masvingo last week, Chief Charumbira, a Karanga himself, reportedly seemed to insinuate that it was time to eat for the Karangas and the citizens’ President should not challenge Mnangagwa because the two belonged to the same tribe.

Charumbira has attempted in vain to retreat from his tribalist utterances. Fine, he made the point that Chamisa is intelligent and that he has the capacity and wherewithal to lead the country.

But he was wrong if he ever thought Chamisa would pander to his cheap tribalist exhortations!

For a country that experienced the Gukurahundi ethnic genocide where State-security agents killed Ndebele citizens from the Matabeleland and Midlands regions, it is hair-raising to insinuate tribalising the Presidency as an office.

Rwanda in 1994 taught us the danger that lies in tribal supremacism, as others under the Robert Mugabe era sought to do through the mantra of ” Zezuru Unconquerable .”

It is unfortunate for a chief called Fortune to be so banal and primitive as to stir up the issue of a Karanga hegemony. Should people who are members the same tribe not contest each other?

The candidate selection process is currently taking place across the country and across the parties, with some people even from the same clan or the same family contesting against each other.

Mnangagwa, through his surrogate, cannot plead the defence of a common tribe to avoid his imminent defeat against Nelson Chamisa!

In this digital era of twitter and instagram identity has gone far much beyond tribe. One’s identity, in the brave 21st century has morphed and is now far much divorced from tribe.

Identity now refers to one’s biometric features, one’s ID and passwords, their email address, facebook page, twitter handle and instagram account. Tribe is slowly becoming irrelevant in this digital era.

Unfortunately for Fortune Charumbira, tribe will not cut it for Nelson Chamisa, a digital citizen and a devout Christian. I know for a fact that the only identity Chamisa cares about has nothing to do with being Karanga.

The only identity he cares about, apart from his name, is his Christian faith. It is an identity he clings to with a passion. He belongs to the tribe of avowed belivers in Jesus Christ and the Almighty God himself.

But then tribe has always driven and defined Zanu PF politics. As a journalist and political scientist, by profession snd training, Charumbira’s unfortunate tribal slur has exhorted me to republish a previous piece on the ethnic politics in Zanu PF, particularly under Mr Mnangagwa.

Indeed, ED has ethnicised and villagised both the party and the State through what seems to be a deliberate “Karangisation” crusade of both the party and the government.

Zanu PF and the tribal factor

Since its formation in 1963, Zanu PF has largely been defined by ethnic politics and the nationalist struggle in general. In fact, tribalism, ethnic politics and regionalism became the key points of reference in the splits of nationalist parties both before and after Independence.

That is why ethnicity is a bane of Zimbabwean politics and the nation-building process. Tribalism is not just a Zimbabwean phenomenon; it is rife across Africa. But in the Zimbabwean context, it has been one of the biggest problems that has contributed to the country’s national failure in many ways.

Professor Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, a historian, (2008) argues that during the days of the National Democratic Party before Zanu was formed in 1963, the pulsations and reverberations of ethnicity were apparent as indicated by the debates that emerged over the name of the imagined post-colonial nation.

Ndlovu says that from the very outset, some Ndebele-speaking nationalists viewed political independence on the basis of their own memories of the pre-colonial Ndebele State and had opposed the name Zimbabwe on the legitimate grounds that it tended to promote only Shona history to the exclusion of other tribes.

Tribalism and the ethnic factor were also cited as having been part of the contributory factors to the 1963 Zapu split when the nationalists became divided with those largely from Mashonaland forming Zanu, ironically at the Highfield house in Harare of a Ndebele politician Enos Nkala who was extremely anti-Zapu and eventually came across as anti-Ndebele.

The new Zanu’s entire leadership was mainly from Mashonaland, with the exception of Nkala, according to the late John Makumbe (1991). Ethnicism continued to play a prominent role in the nationalist struggle and when Nathan Shamuyarira and a largely Zezuru clique formed the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (Frolizi) in 1971, the acronym was derisively referred in some quarters as referring to the Front for the Liberation of Zezuru Intellectuals.

The late Professor Masipula Sithole, in his work Struggles Within The Struggle, equally alludes to the tribal factor, particularly the rivalry between the Karangas and the Manyikas as having been a strong factor in the assassination of Zanu and Dare reChimurenga chairman Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo in April 1975 as well as the ouster of Ndabaningi Sithole from the helm of Zanu as the Karangas reportedly sought to take over control of the struggle.

Ndlovu posits that when Sithole, a Ndau/Shangaan from Manicaland, was imprisoned following the Mgagao Declaration, it was all a ploy to remove the Manyikas from power and replace them with a Zezuru-Karanga leadership.

The Chitepo assassination report, commissioned by the Zambian government at the time, also laid bare the ethnic factor in Zimbabwe’s liberation politics as it implicated the Karangas, including Zanla commander Josiah Tongogara, in the assassination of Chitepo.

In his introductory treatise to Edgar Tekere’s autobiography, A Lifetime of Struggle (2007), prominent academic Ibbo Mandaza reiterates that the theme of ethnicism has pervaded the country’s liberation movement and politics since the early days.

That ethnic politics in the ruling Zanu PF has outlived the liberation struggle, Mandaza argues, is a reflection of the fact that “the ethnic struggle for the control of Zanu PF and the state is far from over.”

Mandaza posits that ethnic politics in the ruling party may persist “as long as the principle of ethnic representation is provided as a more viable mode through which to access power and influence than other factors which should guide the emergence of national leaders.”

The Karangas appear to have presumed themselves to have dominated the country’s liberation struggle and therefore have a sense of entitlement.

Ngwabi Bhebhe, a professor and historian, in his biography of Simon Muzenda, confirms this self-serving narrative of the presumed Karanga dominance on the liberation struggle when he asserts not only that the Karangas were a dominant force in the struggle, but that they were the pivot of it as confirmed by their number in the War Council (Dare reChimurenga) and other party structures.

Bhebhe says for Muzenda, his presence together with fellow Karanga homeboys such as Henry Hamadziripi, Crispen Mandizvidza, Rugare Gumbo and others, at the forefront in the execution of the struggle, was testimony to what he called the”dominant contribution of the Karanga to the liberation of Zimbabwe”.

It is this characterisation and tribalisation of a collective national effort by different ethnic groups which has allowed tribalism to become a national cancer which has eaten into Zimbabwe’s body politic and soul with devastating consequences.

That is why it is difficult to objectively discuss and analyse Zimbabwean politics now without tribalism casting its long shadow over the discourse. Our politics has become imprisoned by ethnicity. Tribalism and regionalism have become a critical political dynamic in Zimbabwe with all its bad and ugly ramifications.

Of course, identity politics is always and has always been there since the beginning of time, but it is the management of diversity and ethnicity that is at issue. Zimbabwe has failed to manage its diversity and multi-culturalism even though its dynamics are far less complex than one finds in other societies across Africa.

There are 15 ethnic linguistic groups in Zimbabwe, in terms of the Constitution, compared to other African countries with scores or even hundreds of those.

For instance, Zambia, which is demographically the same size as Zimbabwe, has 72 tribes spread across its 10 provinces, but its politics is much less ethnicised and tribalised compared to its southern neighbour.

As Mandaza rightly says in his introductory treatise in Tekere’s autobiography, it is ironic that African nationalism was an alliance, nay a coalition in which people from diverse ethnic groups came together under a de-tribalised collective effort to fight colonialism.

It is dishonest and disingenuous to ascribe and attribute a collective effort to a single tribe. Any attempt to single out a particular tribe as having played a more prominent role than others in what was essentially a national effort is a vain attempt to unscramble the egg.

Put simply, tribe and the ethnic factor have always been the bane of Zanu PF and Zimbabwean politics, even though the ethnicisation of politics today appears a primitive consideration that has since lost currency given the advances in technology and that we are now in the digital age.

It is important to state that this piece, which is a revised and recast version of an earlier article published on nehandaradio.com some time ago, is not in any way meant to stigmatise any tribe.

This piece is just but an honest attempt to promote unfettered discourse on what is certainly coming out as the Karangisation of the State and the party, especially under Emmerson Mnangagwa’s so-called new dispensation.

Yet it is clear the majority of the Karangas are suffering like everyone else. Only Mnangagwa and his cronies, mainly Karanga elites from the Midlands and Masvingo, are enjoying the fruits of their coup and the resultant regime.

So it is not Karangarisation of the State on behalf of ordinary Karanga people, but it is a project of the elites dominated by Karangas at the moment, just like the Zezuru elites dominated under the late former president Robert Mugabe’s rule.

ED and the villagisation of the State

We currently live in the brave, digital 21st century but in Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe finds itself saddled with an analogue authoritarian leader still pursuing the primitive politics of tribalism, regionalism, cronyism and villagism. He is cut for archaic politics synonymous with the age of the Munhumutapa Empire and others at the time.

This instalment seeks to show that Mnangagwa, acting like a typical village clansman, who somehow ended up vested with State power, has systematically brought in a mainly Karanga clique from the Midlands and Masvingo provinces — a tribal coterie —- that has now been purposely deployed or retained in strategic party and State institutions as part of the regional and tribal politics of our so-called new dispensation.

It is a sad tale of Zuze comes to town, the story of the primitive commoner who brings his all to the city. In our case, Mnangagwa has brought relatives and cronies to the cradle of national power so they can share with him his privileged but stolen hour in the sun.

The mentality is crude, yet clear: It is our time to eat.Mugabe did it. His cronies and sister Sabina’s sons, including Leo Mugabe, were variously deployed to strategic institutions, while Patrick Zhuwao was a cabinet minister in his uncle’s final hour.

Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, was deployed to head Air Zimbabwe and went on to form Zim Airways using public funds, while his other brother-in-law, Sydney Gata, husband to his sister Regina, was in charge at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, the country’s power utility.

Others from the Mugabe family were seconded as executives to quasi-State institutions such as the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board and the Zimbabwe National Road Authority while Innocent Matibiri was the second-in command at the Zimbabwe Republic Police. There were other relatives in other State institutions, including in ministries and institutions like the national prosecution or Attorney-General’s office.

At the time of his ouster, Mugabe’s wife, Grace, was the Zanu PF women’s league boss and was fancying her chances of occupying the highest office in the land.

Other non-state actors like businessman Philip Chiyangwa also name-dropped, calling themselves Gushungo, Mugabe’s clan name, to get favours from the State.

Of course, not all of Mugabe’s relatives benefitted from his rule. Some like Adam Molai, who is married to the Mugabe family, made their money in the private sector.

However, this naked nepotism and cronyism was rampant under Mugabe. But Mnangagwa claimed his so-called new dispensation was a break with this past — a dark and insidious past characterised by unadulterated clan and village politics.

But Mnangagwa’s promise was blatantly misleading. He has, in fact, entrenched and deepened the culture of tribalism and cronyism, showing he is Mugabe’s best student indeed.

In Mnangagwa’s case, it has been a systematic plot to use acolytes, tribesmen and cronies to take over arms and institutions of the state for self-aggrandisement. We are in an equally insidious, so-called Second Republic in which Mnangagwa’s clansmen and tribesmen, nieces and nephews, friends and associates have all been strategically placed across a vast array of state and quasi-state institutions to protect and entrench narrow personal and clique interests.

Tribesmen and cronies, mainly from his Midlands home province, have been deployed, jointly and severally, to strategic spaces in both party and government. It is so blatant and shameless that it leaves Zimbabweans genuinely interested in appreciating diversity and nation-building cringing.

For a President to sit down and appoint his village boys and tribal cronies as ministers and other key government officials in this day and age is cringeworthy.

Village politics at play

It all starts right from his village. While the Midlands is Mnangagwa’s adopted home province where he pursues his farming and mining interests, the man was born in the Mangwana area of Chivi in Masvingo province. That is what he considers his original home.

That informs his politics and national or party deployment policy.

For instance, it is no wonder that Paul Mangwana, a fellow villager and close associate, is a Zanu PF “chef” , while the brother Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana was brought in from the United Kingdom to become the chief government spokesperson in his capacity as the permanent secretary in the ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. Jasper Mangwana is a ZEC commissiomer.

Upon his appointment as Vice-President under Mugabe, Mnangagwa bequeathed his Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe parliamentary seat to his wife Auxilia ,while his son Tongai is currently the MP for Harare South.

Prominent lawyer Edwin Manikai is part of Mnangagwa’s ethnic network from Chivi as well. His mother is a MaMoyo. In fact, insiders say his mother and Mnangagwa’s mother are siblings. Manikai is the chair of the Presidential Advisory Council.

True, cousins and brothers have always advised each other — only this time Mnangagwa has institutionalised the brotherly advice!

Josiah Dunhira Hungwe, yet another Chivi homeboy, was always a close ally of Mnangagwa since the heady days of Zanu PF maverick Eddison Zvobgo’s era. Today, Vincent Hungwe, Mnangagwa’s Chivi homeboy, from the Vuranda area, is the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, responsible for the entire civil service of Zimbabwe.

Talk of the petty family, village and tribal politics.

Others have derisively referred to Mnangagwa’s regime as Moyo, Sibanda & Associates, given the intricate filial, totemic and tribal links of the key characters in the state. Before former Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo’s recent death, there was him in the network, his cousin brother Elson Moyo, who is the Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Central Intelligence Oragnisation (CIO) boss Director-General Isaac Moyo, Military Intelligence chief Thomas Moyo and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda — indeed Moyos and Sibandas — all from the Midlands.
The Sibandas are part of Mnangagwa’s family. Mnangagwa’s family members also use Sibanda, derived from Shumba. In Ndebele, Sibanda denotes Shumba.

It is no wonder therefore that upon Constantino Chiwenga’s appointment as Vice- President, Mnangagwa appointed his cousin Phillip Valerio Sibanda as commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

That is why there are genuine concerns Mnangagwa might appoint to take over as the co-Vice-President after Kembo Mohadi was forced to resign through well-choreographed state-sanctioned CIO leaks on his adulterous shenanigans.

With a member of the family in charge of the country’s armed services in the aftermath of the coup, Sibanda’s appointment could be regarded as having been an overt case of coup-proofing in case the army got excited again as they had been in November 2017.

With a family member now in charge of the country’s armoury, any fears of yet another coup in the immediate to short term might have been sufficiently allayed. Now that the restlessness in that regard appears to have been quelled with the attendant appointment of pliant brigadiers-general and key army staff across the board, Mnangagwa’s cousin may as well now go higher to checkmate the other Vice-President with the same military credentials.

In fact, impeccable sources say Sibanda, whose renewable one-year term reportedly ended on 31 March 31 2021, has been lined up for Vice-Presidency.

And since the Sibandas are Mnangagwa’s cousins, it must come as no surprise therefore that Misheck Sibanda, another homeboy and relative of the President, was retained as the chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, even after the coup. This strategic post has been retained in the family.

The Rushwayas and Mnangagwa

The Rushwayas are Mnangagwa’s blood relatives. They are his nephews and nieces. Martin Rushwaya, a nephew, is currently the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet responsible for administration and finance. The same Martin Rushwaya is a close relation to Henrietta Rushwaya and Helliet Rushwaya.

Helliet was the chief executive officer at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation entrusted with running government and the party’s propaganda, while Henrietta is that lady who was arrested at the airport with six kilogrammes of gold while in the company of a team of Mnangagwa’s personal bodyguards that included Stephen Tserayi.

Henrietta is back at work at the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, despite facing serious charges that expose the massive leakages in the country’s extractive industry. I hope it is all making sense now.

The Moyos in key positions

Mnangagwa’s mother is a MaMoyo and the Moyos are his maternal uncles. Obadiah Moyo, a maternal uncle, was appointed minister of Health and Child Care in the early days of the current administration but was later dropped from government following his arrest on corruption charges that are still pending.

Isaac Moyo, yet another maternal uncle of Mnangagwa, was recalled from South Africa where he was serving as the country’s ambassador. He is now the head of the CIO, while Elson Moyo, yet another maternal uncle, took over from the late Perrance Shiri and is now the head of the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

In the ministry of Agriculture, Shiri was replaced by yet another Mnangagwa ally and clansman, Anxious Masuka.

All of Mnangagwa’s anxiety in the agricultural sector may have now been quashed as the highly political Pfumvudza programme is firmly in the hands of his faction loyalist.

And still on the Moyos: July Moyo, for long the Lacoste faction’s chief strategist, is the minister of Local Government. SB Moyo, the deceased minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, was also an uncle, but being a soldier, his allegiance was more to Chiwenga and this may yet explain a lot of imponderables, maybe including why he is not with us today.

Mnangagwa has always had political interests in Kwekwe, where he “discovered” Owen Mudha Ncube, who began as a mushurugwi, a machete-wielding mining thug representing Mnangagwa’s mining interests in the town.

Mnangagwa once brought his mukorokoza into government as the minister of State Security. They say fate is a capricious woman. By dint of mother fate and his strong political connection to the man now in charge, Muda calcified from a machete-wielding thug dealing with the security of disparate and miniscule gold “points” into a besuited cabinet minister responsible for the security of an entire country!

Tribesmen in cabinet

Apart from the Moyos, his maternal uncles appointed in the early days of Mnangagwa’s administration and allies such as Masuka and Muda Ncube, other Karanga homeboys in cabinet include Mines minister Winston Chitando from Gutu Central and Professor Amon Murwira from Nzuwa village in the same Gutu area. Another Karanga from Zvishavane and a long-time ally of Mnangagwa is the infamous Willowgate convicted criminal, Frederick Shava. Cabinet meetings may yet begin to look like clan or tribal meetings.

If Mnangagwa’s relative dies, the whole government, certainly Cabinet, might have to be suspended . Everyone would be attending the funeral as they are relatives.

Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri may be a Manicaland godmother and a key Mnangagwa ally who speaks with a fluent Manyika accent, but she is a Karanga from Masvingo whose father went to Manicaland as an agricultural extension worker ( mudhumeni / umlimisi ) and settled in the province.

As shall be explained later, it was Muchinguri-Kashiri who was influential in the appointment of her own niece the late Ellen Gwaradzimba and the currently serving Nokuthula Matsekenyeri, yet another Karanga homegirl, who just happened to be married into a Manyika family in Chimanimani.

And here, I have not yet mentioned Ziyambi Ziyambi and Kindness Paradza, fellow Karangas who are now serving as Justice minister and Information deputy minister respectively. That they transact their politics in other provinces may yet cloud the toxic tribal and factional nature of their appointments.

In the party’s key commissariat department, after Engelbert Rugeje, a soldier and a fellow Karanga from Masvingo who is a Chiwenga loyalist, began to show leanings towards the military faction of the party, and Mnangagwa was quick to slot in yet another Karanga and a Midlander from Gokwe, Victor Matemadanda.

Indeed, for some time, Mnangagwa fancied himself the victor in the battle for the control of the soul of the party, which is the party’s commissariat department that is in charge of all party structures. .

Other key Mnangagwa cronies

Douglas Munatsi

The late Douglas Munatsi was yet another of Mnangagwa’s cronies, representing a vast array of the dear leader’s financial and commercial interests.

Munatsi, appointed chairperson of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, was implicated as having been part of the team that used its financial muscle to capture both The Financial Gazette and The Daily News that are now parroting the views of the state, leaving Zimpapers’ major titles like The Herald and The Chronicle green with envy.

It was during the capture of this stable that former Daily News editor Stan Gama unceremoniously left the newspaper as more pliable editors were put at the helm to protect Mnangagwa’s narrow political interests.

At a personal level, I am greatly pained by the blatant capture of the two newspapers, The Daily News and The Financial Gazette, having served as news editor at both newspapers during the era of audacious journalism when the independent press was truly independent of the political interests of the ruling elite. I miss our golden time in the media when we used the vocation of journalism to hold government accountable and not to shamelessly parrot the selfish interests of the ruling elite.

Kuda Tagwirei

Kuda Tagwirei, the de facto prime minister of our land and business magnate whose finger is in every pie of the state, has his roots in Mulauzi village under chief Nhema in Shurugwi. Tagwirei is not only a tribesmen of the dear leader, but his beloved acolyte with the licence to dabble in every lucrative deal or enterprise within the state, from fuel to bus procurement and the sourcing and supply of fertilisers. He is the financial point man and he is the human embodiment of the phenomenon of state capture in Zimbabwe.

Midlands political dynamics

Larry Mavima

Mavima, a strong Mnangagwa ally and a Karanga from Zvishavane, is the Midlands minister of Provincial Affairs. It is always tragic when presumed national leaders descend from the lofty heights of true nationalists in the mould of the great Joshua Nkomo to the plumbing depths of tribalism, regionalism and villagism.

Notwithstanding his roots in the Chivi area in Masvingo province, Mnangagwa now fancies himself a Midlander Godfather and even the defections overseen by Mavima had a regional tilt to them.

Blessing Chebundo, who almost ended Mnangagwa’s political career before Mugabe came to his rescue, is from Kwekwe, while my sister Lillian Timveos is from Zvishavane in the Midlands province. It depicts the sheer poverty of Mnangagwa’s politics that even the much-vaunted defections have failed to rise above the very limited regional precincts that have always defined the pettiness of his politics.

Oliver Chidawu

Mnangagwa deliberately “exported” his Karanga allies to other provinces on party and/or government mission. He may claim he has always transacted his politics in Harare, but Harare’s late provincial affairs minister Chidawu was Mnangagwa’s Karanga tribal ally.

Monica Mavhunga

Mavhunga, the minister of Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland Central province may have been married in her province of service, but has her roots in Mnangagwa’s home province.

Mary Mliswa-Chikoka

Temba Mliswa’s sister is the minister of Provincial Affairs in Mashonaland West. Mary is originally from Mliswa village in the Gamwa section, Shamba circuit in ward 5 of Shurugwi South. Mliswa and Mnangagwa are of the Shumba totem and Mary’s deployment begins to make sense from the perspective of her roots in Shurugwi and the totemic connection.

Mike Madiro

Mike Madiro, a Mnangagwa ally since the Dinyane days in 2004, is Mnangagwa’s Karanga homeboy originally from Masvingo. Mnangagwa appointed him the deputy minister of Transport.

Madiro was the Manicaland provincial chairperson in 2004 and travelled to Tsholotsho to do Mnangagwa’s bidding at the ill-fated Dinyane meeting where the ambitious gladiator failed to gatecrash into the presidium as Vice-President. Madiro’s appointment is a reward for a long journey travelled together.

Gwaradzimba and Matsikenyeri

Muchinguri-Kashiri was an aunt or a tete to the late Gwaradzimba, whom she pushed to be the Manicaland governor. Upon her death, Muchinguri-Kashiri pushed for Matsikenyeri, yet another Karanga homegirl from Masvingo who just happened to be married into a Chimanimani family.

Joe Biggie Matiza

It is strongly believed within Zanu PF circles that the late Joel Biggie Matiza, who was Transport Minister and Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, was a Karanga with roots in Masvingo.

Those in the know say being Karanga is a key decision factor in Mnangagwa’s cheap tribal politics and he has deployed his tribesmen, clansmen and clanswomen to go and lead the party and government in other provinces.

The list above is not exhaustive, but it just gives a glimpse of the tribal nature of Mnangagwa’s politics and political behaviour.

Jacob Mudenda

Another former Zanu PF provincial chair who also went to the same ill-fated meeting Tsholotsho meeting 17 years ago to root for Mnangagwa is one Jacob Mudenda. The former provincial chairperson for Matabeleland North province has been allowed to retain his position as Speaker of Parliament to represent the enduring Lacoste interests in the August House.

More than anything, the retention of the Speakership is the due reward for an unstinting loyalty. Obligingly, he is now playing his own part in the recalling of elected MPs from parliament. In fact, Mudenda is the personification of the capture of parliament in the furtherance of a dastardly agenda to promote a one-party state in this our beloved country.

Other Mnangagwa acolytes

George Charamba

Charamba is now the deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet. He was also retained as Presidential spokesperson. I have written in a previous instalment that Charanba has always been a key Mnangagwa ally.

At the ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting in 2004, it was Charamba, as permanent secretary in the ministry of Information and Publicity, who abused government funds to pay for the helicopter that carried the Zanu PF provincial chairpersons to the meeting in Tsholotsho.

Charamba paid ZW$9 780 750 for the helicopter and even secured clearance for it. Charamba also wrote Mnangagwa’s Tsholotsho speech, which was eventually delivered by Patrick Chinamasa.

Patrick Chinamasa

Chinamasa is one of Mnangagwa’s allies who is drawing a salary and perks equivalent to that of a Cabinet minister. Chinamasa is representing Mnangagwa’s political interests at party headquarters, together with Obert Mpofu, the party’s secretary for administration.

Obert Mpofu

Mpofu is a key Mnangagwa ally in the industry of nefarious deals. Mnangagwa was the minister of Defence at the time the army got involved in diamond mining, while Obert Mpofu was Mines minister. The two may have some knowledge on the plunder of diamonds and other minerals.

Mnangagwa’s name is specifically mentioned in a United Nations report S/2002/1146 as having been part of the elite network that plundered mineral resources in the DRC.

Neville Coetzee

Contrary to propaganda that has repeatedly been parroted, it is none other than Mnangagwa who has proved to be a front for white capital interests. The late John Bredenkamp, Omanian fugitive Ahmed Said Thamer al Shanfari, Billy Rautenbach and other shadowy capitalists have always been Mnangagwa’s key business associates over the years.

Mnangagwa was mired in a scandal in which he displaced a minority tribe in Chilonga so that his friend Coetzee can grow lucerne grass for his dairy cows. For Mnangagwa, a white crony’s grass is more important than his fellow citizens!


In short, Mnangagwa’s tribesmen, clansmen and elite cronies are now firmly embedded in the upper echelons of the vast labyrinth of party and state power, representing mainly the parochial political and avaricious interests of a small, factional and largely tribal cabal.

The list and names alluded to in this treatise is not exhaustive and Mnangagwa’s villagisation of the party and the state may turn out to be an interesting area of study fully deserving of a comprehensive research effort.

During the Mugabe era, Mnangagwa was certainly biding his time, strenuously working for the moment to foist his own tribesmen and clansmen on the entire body politic.

The evidence of the human resource spread across party and government shows that he may well have achieved his mission in this regard, not to mention the deliberate appointments he has made in the police force and the brigadiers-general he has appointed to fractionally and tribally tame a stubborn military.

Thabani Vusa Mpofu, a Midlander and a presumed Mnangagwa relative, is now in charge of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the President’s Office. Ironically, it is his own appointment that may yet be the special case of corruption and cronyism deserving of a thorough and robust investigation.

All these years as Mnangagwa fought by fair and foul means to achieve the Presidency, it now appears he was working only for an opportunity to bring in his cronies and tribal associates.

He was waiting for his time to bring his own retinue of close associates, kinsmen, kinswomen, cousins and nieces to the dining table so that they could all jointly and severally plunder the country’s resources.

In the words of musician Leonard Karikoga Zhakata, the acolytes have all been called in to enjoy the honeycomb, a sumptuous dinner at the poor taxpayer’s expense:

Dai ndaive ini ndigere paye ,
Deno ndaive ini ndiripo paye ,
Ndairidza huwi ndodaidzira
vamwe vangu ,
Kuno kwaita dopiro akomana ,
Huyai mose , huyai tinombore ,

Now that the clansman has attained state power, the fellow tribesmen and tribeswomen are today gathered at the dinner table, voraciously partaking of the national honeycomb.

The nation may bark, as I am currently doing through this epistle, but the tribesmen and the cronies are quietly enjoying their pilfered meal, in strict conformity to the dictates of prudent table manners that exhort silence during the eating hour!

But for how long will this last? Only time will tell.

Luke Tamborinyoka, a journalist and a political scientist, is a citizen from Domboshava. He is a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC ). You can interact with him on his Facebook page or via the twitter handle @ luke_tambo.

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