By Tino Mambeu

_How I met Chris Mutsvangwa_

The month of May appears to have begun on a high political note in Harare as news of the arrest of Neville Mutsvangwa spreads like wildfire in offices, pubs, and bedrooms alike.

Neville Mutsvangwa is son to the the zanu Pf power couple, Chris and Monica Mutsvangwa who at one point in both Mugabe and Ed Mnangagwa administrations became the notorious cabinet couple a rare occurrence in politics usually accompanied by a feeling of being king makers and invincibility! This enigma can become one’s downfall politically!

As I lie in bed in the wee hours of the morning, I read that Neville has been denied bail and remanded in custody to the 30th of May. News is his father. Chris has accused the VP General Chiwenga of being the power behind his son’s misfortune! This leads me to walk down memory lane and share with you my own experience with Chris, the war veteran!

In March 2016, Chris had been fired by his boss Robert Mugabe for various offences ranging from fanning factionalism and supporting Team Lacoste after he had allegedly organised a meeting of war to discuss Mugabe’s successor! It now appears as if the first quarter of the year is a miserable phase for Chris as he would be fired by Ed in February this year!

Upon his dismissal by Mugabe, Chris sneaked into South Africa and began his arduous work of plotting against his former boss. He would look for all anti Mugabe voices in the diaspora, sit down with them, and plead his case. He would go on to meet President Tsvangirai and other like minded forces in the diaspora. His tag line was revisiting the objectives of the liberation war accusing Mugabe of becoming a sellout.

For some of us who had spent years fighting to dislodge Mugabe from power, this very message resonated well. At my first encounter with Chris, we quickly exchanged numbers in front of Save. Save had already hinted Chris on the nature of work that I was doing for him! Chris instantly liked me, and we became buddies.

I remember Chris calling me one midweek evening to come and pick him up from Sandton. He had suspected that G40 elements were out to kill him on the orders of the highest office of the land. I asked him why he would put my life in danger instead of taking a taxi to his base in Florida in JHB West. He said he wanted me to bear witness to his demise if it were to happen.

My encounters with Chris would continue for a very long time indeed as he learnt that I knew a few people whom he wanted an audience with. These people are the ex Rhodesian farmers, and industrialists spread throughout Johannesburg. With the promise of giving them their land back, setting up the meetings became very easy. The Rhodesians appeared frustrated by Save failure to take power from Mugabe. In Chris, they saw a real chance of seeing Mugabe’s back.

I would introduce Chris to guys like John Stanton and Russel Herbert’, these guys showed an undying love for Zimbabwe! I must also mention that during this time, Chris appeared to be financially unstable as he would ask me for money to get a haircut or whiskey. One day, I took him to a barber shop in ridgeway Johannesburg South, passing through my own home. My uncle was mesmerised here. I was with Chris, the all-powerful ex minister of war veterans. 

We would spend our weekends at his favourite drinking spot- sipping whiskey at the corner of Gordon and Ontedekkers Road. I think it’s Bootleggers if I’m not mistaken!

Now, in the months leading to November 2017, Chris plans were now in full swing. We would watch all the pressers by war veteran leaders Mahiya and Matemadanda from Sandton, obviously in the company of our Rhodesian friends. We had to show them that things had moved a gear up. To their very own delight and satisfaction!

Fast forward to 2017, the coup has been carefully executed – like any other Zimbabwean enthusiast I find myself in Harare. The new president Ed has a meeting at the Rainbow Tower – I bump into Chris, who barely recognises me. I try frantically to remind him of who I was and mention our days in Sandton while the coupe unfolded. He replies vafana munoshupa hatikuziviyi!”” I was bewildered and left the gathering dejected.

A few months later, Neville would contact me looking for a TV opportunity in South Africa. He had a message and the message was Chiwenga can’t be vice president- who had sent him I don’t know, but with the current utterances by his own father it may be very obvious he was doing his dad’s bidding.

With all this happening to Chris, I have no kind words for him. The man gets easily intoxicated by power. The last time he addressed a presser in Johannesburg, he told us that if we are not happy with Zanupf, each must do exactly what Zanupf did to Smith, and everyone knows what that is! Regai zvakedero musabata kani hamaweee!

Unfortunately, the majority of Zanu PF members  I interact with seem to think that VP Chiwenga should never ascend the throne. Kwahi Mukanya havapinde……

Factionalism will be the end of ZanuPf. We watch from the terraces, but I hear that Wezhira wakarangarigwavo tisu takabata dura remari! He was writing on X

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