Chipangano must be stopped and disbanded

Tanonoka Joseph Whande

March 29th, 2012

It is my hope that from wherever he is, Border Gezi is allowed to look down today and see the legacy of his narrow-minded and self-serving actions in Zimbabwe.

I cannot pray for his comfort while I and our people continue to suffer primarily because of his ignorantly selfish dabbling in politics.

If he feels a fraction of the pain and discomfort his invention is currently causing to our nation, then there is no need for us to pray for justice or for him.

The so-called Border Gezi Training Centres were nothing more than camps that turned our youths into vigilantes and places where Gezi indoctrinated our children with the art of brutality and political hooliganism, unsupported by common sense.

These centres of evil are now mutating into several “independent vigilante groups”.

Gezi taught our children to kill their own people, parents and relatives in the pursuit of glorifying a man who had given him a job.

When Gezi’s murderous “graduates” left their training bases, son could no longer trust parents; parents could no longer trust their daughters and family relations were strained due to suspicions of each other.

Although the Border Gezi graduates were ZANU-PF party cadres, they were government sponsored, making us understand that they were actually civil servants on national duty.

Yes, it was a party issue, a misguided undertaking to brainwash the youths into supporting and forcing people, through violence, to accept an unpopular government and its policies.

But, with all their indiscriminate violence, akin to the same government’s deployment of the murderous North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade for the same purposes years earlier, the Border Gezi trainees were incorporated into government policy.

Indeed, our children could no longer be admitted to secondary schools, training institutes and like educational establishments without a certificate from the Border Gezi Training Center.

Border Gezi instituted and ran so-called training centres for the youths but when they graduated, we were suddenly their targets. Son was set against father; mother against daughter and the once “together families” were suddenly dangerously suspicious of each other, causing breakdown in families, marriages and society.

In typical North Korean fashion, the government (ZANU-PF) sent our own off spring to spy on us. Gradually, families degenerated into individuals. The fall out from the Gezi madness destroyed families.

The Border Gezi kids were so successfully well trained in brutality that they earned the moniker “Green Bombers”.

It is precisely because of this man Border Gezi that ZANU-PF legitimised violence as can be seen in the mushrooming of several abnormally militant vigilante groups aligned to ZANU-PF, like the infamous Chipangano, whose epicentre is Mbare, and the Hurungwe-based Jochomondo, which are today terrorising the nation but remain untouchable to the law.

These groups of violent youths have practically paralysed the nation to the extent of making the police part of their victims because they appear to be more powerful than the police while even ZANU-PF stalwarts and cabinet ministers are literally afraid of them.

In November last year, “a US$5 million dollar housing scheme that would have seen new housing units being built for the poor in Mbare” had to be moved to Dzivarasekwa, after the notorious Chipangano gang demanded 51 percent of the houses.

The housing scheme had been made possible by the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was also sponsoring similar projects in Malawi and Angola.

Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, of all people, powerlessly conceded that they had to move the project to Dzivarasekwa because they risked losing out on the funding if they gave in to Chipangano’s outrageous demands.

Earlier in the year, the group had rampaged through Harare Town House, beating up council employees as police watched.

This culminated in this group of misfits invading Parliament, beating up MP’s and journalists. To this day, no arrests have been made for the violation of the sanctity of parliament and the injuring of lawmakers.

The other day, Chipangano was reported to have “taken over many council properties in Harare and are now collecting huge sums of money illegally from vendors and minibus drivers”.

Claims, which could not be contradicted, were made to the effect that “Chipangano is practically running a ‘parallel Council’”.

Newsday reported that “MDC-T Cabinet ministers and MPs whose constituencies are in Harare have resorted to holding secret door-to-door meetings with their supporters following a ban on their rallies” by Chipangano.

How an illegal group of misfits can thumb their noses at law and order, prevent lawmakers from doing their rounds in their constituencies and defy the police is a mystery only in that we do not know who, in ZANU-PF, their master is.

ZANU-PF has always had a knack of establishing groups whose control they eventually lose.

ZANU-PF first lost control of itself; then they created the bogus war veterans, who must be quite exasperated by the emergency of Chipangano, and went on to lose control of that group as can be evidenced by it being dominated by non war veterans like Jabulani Sibanda and Joseph Chinotimba.

Now Chipangano has entered the scene with pretty much the same kind of violent intentions as we witnessed with the war veterans during the heyday of farm inventions.

While war veterans invaded farms, beat up or killed their rightful owners, Chipangano is doing the very same thing but now against the black population of Zimbabwe, particularly in the urban areas and their tentacles are spreading.

The heart of the matter is that ZANU-PF, like the famed tokoloshi, has never been able to survive without violence, without blood letting.

Chipangano is just one symptom of many that afflict ZANU-PF whose elders are now so blood-soaked that they need daily doses of blood, not water.

The trouble with violence is that it feasts on itself and its offspring.

It is a matter of public record how so many people, from the revered Josiah Tongogara to his deputy Solomon Mujuru, died under mysterious and still as yet unexplained circumstances.

Without violence, ZANU-PF does not stand a chance.

The other day, Harare Council Housing and Community Services Committee chairperson, Charles Nyatsuro, told Newsday that even Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo is worried about Chipangano in Mbare and “promised to engage the Home Affairs co-ministers, Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone, so that they bring to an end the chaos”.

Only last year did these two concede that Chipangano was more powerful than the police and that, indeed, Chipangano was actually arresting the police. Chombo is naïve.

Apart from beating up people, Chipangano is also disrupting development projects meant to benefit the people in the area. They are not just causing mayhem; they are actually setting up structures and are extorting money from people. They are also setting up branches in other towns around the country, yet there is no indication if whoever created this gang of misfits can still control them.

The Stanley Foundation, which seeks “a secure peace with freedom and justice, built on world citizenship and effective global governance”, says that mass violence is a political tool used by those with power for their own strategic objectives.

“It is not an unpreventable and unmanageable explosion of existing tensions. Ethnic and other social divisions can be manipulated by the powerful, but genocide and mass atrocities don’t occur spontaneously. And that means they can be prevented.”

But who is going to rein in Chipangano? ZANU-PF and its government created the war veterans and gave them powers outside the parameters of law. Eventually, they lost control and the war veterans’ organisation is now fragmented and basically ineffective with physical violence being the only thing it claims to have.

Now Chipangano is going national and the politicians who created it are quacking in their boots.

ZANU-PF and the unity government must move quickly to disband Chipangano and arrest the perpetrators of violence and the extortionists along with those ZANU-PF leaders who have and are benefitting from the illegal existence and operations of this group.

After the way in which our country and our people suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the so-called war veterans, Chipangano must be stopped as a matter of urgency. Our nation cannot stomach the existence of another vigilante group of cowards who feast on the innocent, hardworking citizens.

But, again, looking at how ZANU-PF people benefitted from the farm invasions led by the war veterans, Zimbabwe is once again exposed to rape and anarchy by its own children.

Shame on us.

I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Thursday, March 29th, 2012.

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