DCCs disbandment haunts Chipangano

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s shock June decree to disband the Zanu PF District Coordinating Committees (DCCs) has returned to haunt the party’s Mbare- based vigilante group known as Chipangano.

Information gleaned from highly-placed insiders by the Daily News shows that the crackdown on Chipangano in the last few days is an extension of the factional turmoil rocking Mugabe’s former guerrilla movement.

“Chipangano represents the last vestiges of the Harare DCC and those who fought to have the mechanism disbanded realised that if the terror group is left intact it was as good as having left Harare untouched.
“Mugabe cannot do anything but agree to this because he had already exposed himself by agreeing to the dissolution of the DCCs,” an insider said on condition of anonymity.

Mugabe surprised all and sundry by ordering the dissolution of the DCCs in a move that was seen as a blow to a faction of the party led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, battling to control the party and ultimately succeed Mugabe as party supremo.

Mnangagwa is reportedly engaged in a war of attrition with Vice President Joice Mujuru in a bid to take over from Mugabe as the 88-year-old battling chronic ill-health and old age grapples to find a solution to the emotive issue.

Zanu PF secretary for administration two months ago confronted the party’s Harare provincial chairperson Amos Midzi over Chipangano.

“Cde Midzi if you tell me that you know nothing about this group (Chipangano) that is terrorising people in Harare it would be a lie. I will not believe that,” Mutasa said demanding something be done.
Insiders now say that was a direct order and had to be complied with.

“It was an order that needed no other communication. The first step was the suspension of former DCC Harare chairperson Onesimo Gore two weeks ago on the pretext that he was collaborating with an MDC agent Alex Mashamhanda. It was all a cover-up job and one that smacks of hypocrisy, they knew what they wanted,” said the source.

The Daily News was shown the judgement by an internal party Disciplinary committee that presided over Gore’s case.

“That the party had decided to go against the establishment of a business by Mashamhanda and the accused went against policy to negotiate for the employment of party activist in order to allow the MDC activist to establish the business,” part of the summons read.

An MDC councillor in Mbare, Friday Muleya told the Daily News it is common knowledge that Tendai Sanvanhu (Zanu PF deputy secretary for indeginisation in the politburo) and Midzi are the Chipangano godfathers.

“It is not a secret Savanhu and Midzi bankroll the group and give moral support. They guaranteed the protection of the terror group and gave them a free hand to operate without limits. Some of us now wonder whether this has anything to do with Zanu PF or it is just abuse of people in the name of politics,” Muleya said.

Police descended on touts reportedly working under the guidance of Chipangano netting almost 500 by Thursday evening with at least 300 still detained.

Harare woke up to a different scenery of order and calm in the capital’s bus termini in direct contrast to the chaos that is usually associated with all ranks across the city amid the touting even along the road passing through Mugabe’s office.

The crackdown was precipitated by the alleged savage attack on two members of the army attached to the elite One Commando regiment two weeks ago.

On Monday last week soldiers staged a revenge attack that resulted in the arrest of four of their colleagues.

Soldiers then reportedly turned on the police late on Tuesday angered by the arrests and accused the police of siding with Chipangano.

Then all hell broke loose with reported injuries as the police launched a blitzkrieg that was only short of gunfire.

By Friday all those that had been released after admission of guilt fines of the 308 that had been arrested on Wednesday only 83 had remained but another 158 had joined them according to police spokesperson James Sabau.

The modus operandi that has developed is that all public transport operators pay some money to alleged Zanu PF leaders.

While youth leader Jim Kunaka, Fanuel Mutasa, and Wilbert Zhakata front a litany of names leading the operation, they have been off the hook as Zanu PF benefited in sharing of the proceeds from these illegal activities.

Under these leaders is a group known as Mandimbandimba that collects money and makes sure part of the cash collected finds its way to the party’s Fourth Street provincial offices.

Proceeds are shared every Friday or Thursdays with the party taking four days of receipts, Chipangano leaders two and the touts a day’s proceeds.

Chipangano leaders, now cruise around in top of the range BMW X5s, Grand Cherokees and Mercedes Benz MLs.
Repeated efforts to get comment from Savanhu, Midzi yesterday hit a brick wall while Kunaka was picking up his phone and just kept quiet.

Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo professed ignorance.

“I know nothing about what is happening in Harare. Why don’t you call Midzi and Savanhu they know better and should be able to comment,” Gumbo said.

Provinvial spokesperson Claudius Mutero denied Zanu PF has ever benefited from Chipanagano activities.

“As far as we are concerned there is no Chipangano, it is a figment of other people’s imagination. If we had benefited we would be rich. The Zhakata-Mutasa fiasco happened but Zhakata was lying that he had been attacked or kidnapped, its internal politics,” Mutero said.

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