Manicaland 2017 political round-up
WITH 2017 having come to an end, we take introspection into major political events that unfolded in Manicaland. The political arena found some politicians in doldrums, while others ascended overnight, both in the ruling party and Government.
The political drama in Manicaland started with divisions that rocked ZANU-PF as 'criminals' then surrounding former President Robert Mugabe jostled for leadership positions within the party and Government.
Death of controversial politician and farmer
In March 2017, Manicaland woke up to the sad news of Cde Nathaniel Garikayi Mhiripiri’s death. He was the then ZANU-PF provincial secretary for labour and production.
His body was found at his Abeid Farm, some 10km on the outskirts of Rusape, along Rusape-Mutare Highway. Cde Mhiripiri's death remained a mystery, and is still fresh on the lips of many.
An autopsy by pathologists at Harare Hospital discovered two bullets lodged in the head and intestines. No arrests have been made, and many wonder what has happened to the investigations.
Votes of no confidence
ZANU-PF Manicaland Provincial Co-ordinating Committee( PC C) held on April 21, 2017 passed a vote of no confidence on Samuel Undenge, the then provincial chairman for being an appendage of the then under fire and now exiled political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere.
The PCC was also accused Dr Undenge of being a puppet of his wife Letina. Youths and the women’s league were the most vocal wings.
They alleged that Undenge had failed to control his uncouth and psychopathic wife such that she was railroading senior party members in the province. Undenge, during the PCC meeting was also accused of forming parallel structures within the party.
He, however, survived as the heat was turned on his persecutors.
Presidential Youths Interface
June 16 Sakubva Stadium was a hive of activity as ZANU PF party supporters from across Manicaland thronged the soccer cathedral to witness the Presidential Youths Interface where former President Robert Mug abe made a keynote address.
Business came to a stand-still in Mutare's CBD on the eve of the interface rally day as a 'street-carnival' fronted by students from tertiary institutions and various artistes participated in the build-up to the event.
It was th eS akubvae vent that gave birth to Zimdancehall musician, Soul Jah Love's charts-topper Ndiri Zvinhu following an incident in which the then ZANU-PF Youth League member Innocent Hamandishe publicly shouted at the chanter “Soul Jah Love hausi chinhu.
Hamandishe, whose antics were described in some sections as barbaric, shouted accusing the artiste of indiscipline and disrespect. This was after fans stampeded on stage soon after Cde Mugabe's address.
The cheering fans were chanting Soul Jah Love's name as he was walking to the stage.
Comedians and social media fanatics also prized on the incident.
G40 cabal and parallel structure
On the political scene, events took twists and turns as the G40 cabal started creating fissures within the revolutionary party.
Factions started to develop within the party with those who were said to be aligned to President Mnangagwa being described as Lacoste and 'guilty' of plotting to ouster former President Robert Mugabe.
President Mnangagwa was the VP during that time.
P urging of party members on faction al lines also took centre stage and saw the likes of Comrades Oppah Muchinguri, Monica Mutsvangwa, Chris Mu sh oh we, Patrick China mas a, Moses Gutu and Joseph Mujati among others being recommended for expulsion.
The G 40 cab al replaced them with their 'loyalists'. The fugitive Mandi Chimene was the then Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs.
The G40 cabal ganged up during a PCC meeting which was held late last year and also kicked-out other party members like Comrades Oliver Mandipaka, Nokuthula Matsikenyere, Joseph Mujati among others for fighting from Cd eM nan gagwa’s corner. Mujatiw as the major victim, being attacked left, right and centre at all PCC. It was during the same PCC meetings that the executive joined other provinces and resolved to dismiss Cd eM nan gagwa from the party and Government.
Forbes Border Fiasco
Days after ZANU-PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo announced the dismissal of Cde Mnangagwa, Mutare became the talk of the nation.
There were reports that Cde Mnangagwa had been arrested at Forbes Border Post as he tried to cross into Mozambique. Unfounded reports emerged over circumstances in which he attempted to cross into Mozambique.
Operation Restore Legacy and the G40 demise
The army ushered in a military action that was aimed at rescuing values and ethos of the liberation struggle that was threatening and being perpetrated by political upstarts and counter-revolutionaries.
It created a new dispensation which also marked the end of former President Robert Mugabe who had ruled for 37 years.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces through the Operations Restore Legacy aimed at weeding out 'criminals' surrounding the former President.
ZANU-PF provincial chairperson Samuel Undenge, National Youth Secretary Kudzi Chipanga, Women's League national secretary Letina Undenge and Mandi Chimene were expelled from the party and Government.
Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri was elevated to the position of the ruling party’s national chairman while Senator Monica Mutsvangwa became the Provincial Affairs Minister.
Cde Chinamasa retained his finance portfolio, after being relegated to cyber security ministry.
Cde Mike Madiro, who was suspended from the party in 2012 bounced back to replace Undenge.
Arrests, corruption and disappearances
Ex-Agriculture Minister Joseph Made proved to be the most selfish man in Manicaland following his arrest on allegation of abuse of office and hoarding of an assortment of plant, equipment at tara farm in Headlands.
The equipment was dumped and has been lying idle since 2007. Among the lot were expired drugs, seed maize and wheelchairs.
Although he along with his wife were chucked from the revolutionary party for being criminals that were surrounding former President Robert Mugabe, Samuel Undenge remains a ‘thorn in the flesh’ for people of Manicaland and the country at large.
U nd en ge was arrested for criminal abuse of office.
He was also fingered in corrupt activities that reportedly occurred during the time he was minister of Energy and Power Development in which he is said to have awarded US$5 million tender to Wickenel Chivayo through his company Intrateck.
Chipanga was also arrested for publishing information that was prejudicial to the State.
His matter is still pending. Mubuso Chinguno, who provincial youths chairperson, was suspended from the party for allegedly misappropriating $400 000 meant service youths residential stands in Chipinge.
Demonstrations were staged against him amid reports that he used the funds to purchase properties in Chimanimani and personal vehicles. Chinguno was then kicked out from the party pending investigations which forced him to skip the country for Lesotho.
He later apologised for his attack on President Mnangagwa.
Chimene is also on wanted list for various offences.
Her whereabouts are not known as she never set a foot in Zimbabwe since leaving for China with Government officials from Manicaland late October.