With former television personality Tatenda Mavetera thrown into the mix, one needs very little imagination to describe Zimbabwe’s Cabinet that was sworn into office early this week following a sham election. And with two 2 ) Mutsvangwas, six (6) women and three ( 3 ) Mnangagwas, ED’s latest executive is basically a Studio 263 Cabinet of sorts!
There has been a furore over his latest appointments not only because he appointed his sons as Ministers but by dint of the clueless greenhorns therein ,some of them given to the naive frailty of plagiarism through copy and paste.
Once again, and for the second time in five years, ED has made the usual boob of appointing as Ministers a higher threshold of non-elected MPs as he should, leading to some of them being Ministers for only 24 hours, as he did in 2018. The monumental boob, the second one in five years, speaks volumes not only about the so -called President but of the calibre of the team around him, including one George Charamba, he of the high verbiage who communicates like a 1980s upper top student out to impress at the school assembly.
Not surprisingly, ED’s highly Karangized Ministerial team comprises nine Ministers who all come from Gutu. These are Winston Chitando, Barbra Rwodzi, Yeukai Simbanegavi, Amon Murwira, John Paradza, Obert Mazungunye, Tatenda Mavetera, Anxious Masuka and Lovemore Matuke,
For some, perhaps it is still fresh information that ED is simply a clanist, a base politician given to nepotism by dint of his close family members, cjans-men, clans-women as well as his Karanga tribesmen and tribeswomen he has foisted to top positions in both the party and the State since 2017..
Now with his Studio 263 Cabinet of two Mutsvangwas, six women and three Mnangangwas, ED has simply confirmed his thespian and nepotist credentials as a tribalist director of this tragi-comic soap.
But readers of this column will recall that I have previously unmasked this village EDiot masquerading as Zimbabwe’s Head of State for his clan and filial proclivities. ED is just but a brazen nepotist who not only steals elections but stuffs the entire State and party institutions with children, cousins, nephews and aunties.
Some have hinted that all indications point to the fact that Mnangagwa may have deliberately sworn in this clueless Cabinet well aware that these are temporary appointments pending either a fresh election or an inclusive government brokered by SADC. For him, maybe he fancies this so-called Cabinet simply as window-dressers, temporary appointments pending a decisive SADC resolution on Zimbabwe, much like the temporary cabin one erects on his stand before he builds the actual house.
Dear reader, following the 2017 coup and the stolen elections of 2018, I walked you through the list of relatives, brothers, cousins, nieces, uncles and long-time factionalists that ED had appointed into the party and government, some of whom have surfaced yet again in this clueless Cabinet of thespian comedians.
Mnangagwa’s appointments early this week of his children, clansmen, clanswomen and factionalists have simply reinforced what I wrote a few years ago when I revealed to you, my esteemed readers, the network of relatives factionalists and acolytes that the Croc had stuffed into the party and government since 2017 when he putsched his way into power.
In April 2021, I wrote the following piece where I revealed Mnangagwa’s vast and intricate network of his family, friends and relatives mainly of his Karanga tribe that he has stuffed into the top echelons of the party, government and quasi-State institutions.
Mnangagwa and_his _primitive ethnic villagisation of the party and 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 has pursued rchaic 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 family and 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 and 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 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 and that was one of the many reasons ED and company removed him from office.
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 family, acolytes, tribesmen and cronies to take over arms and institutions of the State for self-aggrandisement.
We were in an equally insidious, so-called Second Republic or is it now third 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 Masvingo and Midlands home provinces, 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 sons, 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 sits in the Zanu PF Politburo, 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 Commissioner in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) while Lovedale Mangwana has been the incessant litigant recently used by Mnangagwa to judicialise our politics and to corruptly remove competition from the ballot paper.
Upon his appointment as Vice-President under Mugabe, Mnangagwa bequeathed his Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe parliamentary seat to his wife Auxilia ,while his nephew Tongai and Kudakwashe David, both Mnangagwas, are now Ministers of Government.
ED simply believes in keeping it all in the family.
Prominent lawyer Edwin Manikai is part of Mnangagwa’s ethnic networks 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 and ekavsted brotherly advice to State level!
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 death, there was him in the network, his cousin brother Elson Moyo, who is the Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Central Intelligence Organisation (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. Some of Mnangagwa’s family members also use the name Sibanda, derived from their Shumba totem. In Ndebele, Sibanda denotes Shumba in Shona.
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 were genuine concerns when Mnangagwa at one point mulled appointing Valerio 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.
Valerio Sibanda was ZAPU so there would not have been any allegations of flouring the unity accord, even though the army chief is his brother.
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 was at one point seriously considered to go higher to checkmate the other Vice-President with the same military credentials.
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.
After the 2018 election, Helliet was appointed 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 one Stephen Tserayi.
Henrietta is back at work at the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, despite facing serious charges that have since collapsed like a deck of cards, charges which expose the massive leakages in the country’s extractive industry.
Dear reader, 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. Obediah Moyo, a maternal uncle, was appointed minister of Health and Child Care in the early days of the previous administration but was later suspended from government following his arrest on corruption charges.
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 Karanga tribesman.
Masuka was retained as Agriculture Minister early this week
And still on the Moyos: July Moyo, for long the Lacoste faction’s chief strategist, has just yet again just been retained a Cabinet Minister but with a different portfolio.
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 Mudah Ncube, who began as a mushurugwi , a machete-wielding mining thug who represented Mnangagwa’s mining interests in the town.
Today, Mnangagwa has brought his mukorokoza into government yet again as Provincial Affairs Minister after being temporarily shunted into political Siberia when he was fired as State Security Minister.
They say fate is a capricious woman. By dint of tribal and factional connections, Mudha has morphed from being a machete wielding mukorokoza into a besuited Minister of government.
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 that have yet again been retained in Cabinet include Mines minister Winston Chitando from Gutu Central and Professor Amon Murwira from Nzuwa village in the same Gutu area.Gutu has provided nine Ministers this time around.
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. In the Mnangagwa compound there are three ministers while two other Cabinet ministers can be found on Christopher Muttsvangwa’s matrimonial bed!
If Mnangagwa’s relative dies, the whole government, certainly Cabinet, might have to be suspended. Everyone would be attending the funeral as they are:either relatives, tribesmen or close friends.
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 current Provincial Affairs Minister for 24 hours, Nokuthula Matsikenyeri. Nokuthula is yet another Karanga homegirl, who just happens to have been married into a Manyika family in Chimanimani.
And here, I have not yet mentioned Ziyambi Ziyambi a fellow Karanga retained as Justice Minister. That he transacts his politics in another province in Mashonaland may yet cloud the toxic tribal and factional nature of his appointment.
n 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. Matemadanda was later retired.
Other key Mnangagwa *cronies
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 and who died in mysterious circumstances, 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, 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
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 Midlands godfather and even the defections overseen by Mavima a few years ago 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.
The late Oliver Chidawu
Mnangagwa has always serially and 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 now deceased provincial affairs minister Chidawu was Mnangagwa’s Karanga tribal ally.
Mavhunga, now a Minister of government having been provincial Affairs Minister for Mash. Central province, may have been married in her former province of service, but has her roots in Mnangagwa’s home province.
Temba Mliswa’s sister is a former minister of Provincial Affairs in Mashonaland West. Mary, the oten-pampered girl 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 periodic deployment to strategic political spaces begins to make sense from the perspective of her roots in Shurugwi and the totemic connection with ED..
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 in the previous Cabinet.
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 as Minister in the last government, was 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 to succeed her
Matsikinyeri was recently appointed as Provincial Affairs Minister but only for 24 hours due to the legal ineptitude of the appointing authority.
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.
Another former Zanu PF provincial chair who also went to the same ill-fated meeting Tsholotsho meeting 19 years ago to root for Mnangagwa is one Jacob Mudenda. The former provincial chairperson for Matabeleland North province has just been allowed, yet again, 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 playied his own part in the recalling of elected MPs from parliament.
In fact, in the previous Parliament, Mudenda was 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
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
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.
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.
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 has been mired in a scandal in which he has decided to displace 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!
Mnangagwa’s appointment of his children, Mr and Mrs Mutsvangwa and a cast associations of family, relatives, friends and acolytes has simply confirmed that the man is a primitive tribesman.
In short, Mnangagwa’s family, 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 filialisation and villagisation of the party and the State may turn out to be an interesting area of study fully deserving of a comprehensive research effort. An academic thesis.
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.
Remember one of his sons is a senior army officer, a colonel.
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 Vusa Mpofu’s 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 his family, cronies and tribal associates into the top echelons of the party and government. 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 stolen State power, his children, family members, fellow tribesmen and tribeswomen are today gathered at the dinner table, voraciously partaking to 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.
In the meantime, dear readers, behold Mr Mnangagwa’s Studio 263 Cabinet!
Luke Tamborinyoka is a citizen from Domboshava. A journalist and an ardent political scientist by profession, Tamborenyoka is also a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) . You can interact with him via his Facebook page or on the X-handle @ luke_tambo .