By Wendy Muperi
HARARE – What started as a useful terror group for Zanu PF is turning into a monster and runaway gang now out of the party’s control.
Senior party officials, including President Robert Mugabe’s closest allies are coming out demanding its disbandment — but maybe a little too late to dismantle a group that has made a killing from acting on behalf of the party.
All was good when Chipangano, a shadowy militia group controlled from within Zanu PF, went around harassing supporters of the MDC and any other perceived critics of President Robert Mugabe.
So untouchable became Chipangano that it has caused violence in Parliament, has seized markets, city parking spaces and blocked million-dollar investments it suspects are funded by pro-MDC businessmen, making it a lucrative outfit.
All this is happening at the expense of Zanu PF, which is struggling to reclaim the urban vote after humiliating defeats since the formation of the MDC in 1999.
Top party chefs are now out to force the dismantling of a group that has since assumed a life of its own outside the party — a rag-tag band that is making a living out of Zanu PF’s name but has since mapped its own survival route.
Supposed handler Amos Midzi, under attack from anti Chipangano officials disowned the group but Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa confirmed Chipangano existed and blasted Midzi for lying to the people.
Groups that represent residents who have borne the brunt of Chipangano’s violence say Mutasa is playing cheap politics. “He should follow this up with action. We do not have to listen to him, we just want Chipangano gone and so that peace prevails in Harare,” said Precious Shumba chairperson of Harare Residents Trust.
“As HRT we received the comments with caution,” said Shumba. “These Chipangano people are known but have not been arrested for years now. Chipangano is actually supported by some senior police and Zanu PF leaders as it is deeply entrenched in politics and business,” said Shumba.
“Mutasa should now take the initiative a step further from mere talk for political purposes to action. If he is serious, he should challenge the police to arrest these people,” he said. Shumba challenged Mutasa to make a public announcement on how his party plans to deal with Chipangano members implicated in violence.
“There are countless people who have been brutalised out there. Mutasa should tell them how the group and its sponsors are going to be dealt with,” said Shumba.
Combined Harare Residents Association of Zimbabwe (Chra) said Chipangano was running a parallel taxation system in Harare and Mutasa’s statement was in vain if Zanu PF does not stop it.
“We are concerned the operations of Chipangano continue, the City of Harare will continue to lose revenue since its revenue collection duty has been usurped by these Zanu PF youth who operate under the group,” Chra said.
As our Parliamentary Editor Chengetai Zvauya reports in this combo, Chipangano was still actively at work as of last week. Daily News
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