By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
28 July, 2014
The independent Daily News newspaper has named the notorious leader of farm invasions, Joseph Chinotimba, as legislator of the month, in an inaugural monthly column that will praise members of parliament for their contribution in the house.
The paper outlined some of Chinotimba’s recent exploits in parliament, including a near fistfight last week, but failed to mention his murderous past when he led gangs of violent war vets to take over commercial farms around the country.
Now MP for Buhera South, Chinotimba has re-invented himself from a security guard for the Harare Council and turned into an outspoken politician. The Daily News described the self-styled leader as “a brawler and a fighter, not highly educated, uncouth but very intelligent”.
They pointed to his criticism of the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi), created by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo at a budget of $1.6 million. Chinoz, as he became known during land invasions, questioned the allowances of $300 per day being given to Impi panellists and its specific mission.
The paper also praised him for questioning the water authority Zinwa and its billing structures, as well as other issues on which Chinotimba has spoken out in parliament, on behalf of his constituents.
But the murderous trail left behind by the MP during his early days, when he became known for wearing a straw hat, was not mentioned in the nomination.
John Worsley Worswick of Justice for Agriculture criticised the Daily News for praising Chinotimba, saying the so-called land reform programme was fraught with violence and human rights abuses and it is important to prosecute the perpetrators in order to facilitate the healing process.
“We have had a number of rulings in the UK asylum courts, that incidents during the so-called land reform were crimes against humanity. These were led by people like Chinotimba and there is no statute of limitations on that sort of crime. There is no way we can sweep this under the carpet,” Worswick told SW Radio Africa.
He added: “It was totally criminal and Chinotimba was at the forefront of that criminality and that violence, perpetrating it all the way. I think the general population of this country were horrified when he ran for office and worse when he won.”
It is important to remember that Chinoz is the same man who led gangs of violent war vets and ZANU PF youth militia that used rape and torture as a political weapon, especially when he ran for office in his native Buhera in the 2008 elections.
Eyewitnesses alleged that Chinotimba, in the company of his cousin, raped MDC-T member Idah Munyukwi twice after threatening her with a gun. He had been looking for her husband, an MDC-T activist who was not home.
Memory Mufambi, another MDC-T member in Buhera, was gang raped by 21 ZANU PF thugs allegedly under Chinotimba’s instruction. Also in 2008, an MDC-T member known as Sibamba was murdered by a gang led by Chinotimba. His truck was also used during many violent incidents.
The violent war vet now lives in luxury with security guards posted to protect him, after “winning” the Buhera seat in the disputed 2013 elections.