Drama kings and queens of 2016

By Tendai Makaripe

An anonymous thinker once said: “Drama doesn’t just walk into your life. You either create it, invite it or you associate with people who love to bring it into your life.”

The Zanu PF provincial minister and interim chairperson of a splinter war veterans’ grouping, Mandi Chimene
The Zanu PF provincial minister and interim chairperson of a splinter war veterans’ grouping, Mandi Chimene

As the curtain comes down on the year 2016, it is befitting to pay tribute to men and women who gave the country lots to talk about due to their undeniable knack of creating or inviting drama.

Sarah Mahoka
Up to February 2016, Sarah Mahoka, the ZANU-PF secretary for finance in the Women’s League was virtually an unknown quantity, but she suddenly became a household name, dominating talk in pubs, eateries and commuter omnibuses.

Her claim to notoriety was her public excoriation of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a party event beamed live on national television.

The event held in February at the ZANU-PF national headquarters in Harare was to celebrate President Robert Mugabe’s completion of his tenure as chairman of the African Union.

Mahoka, in her wisdom or lack of it, launched a scathing attack on Mnangagwa, likening him to a miserable lameduck.

Not mincing her words, Mahoka challenged “the crocodile or ngwena” — as Mnangagwa is affectionately known — to spell out his ambitions as far as the issue of succeeding President Mugabe was concerned.

It was perplexing for such a lightweight to humiliate a Vice President, which left many guessing that she had merely acted as a megaphone for a much bigger voice behind her daring jibe on Mnangagwa.

Nonetheless the dare-devil stunt helped curve her name in the annals of Zimbabwean history as an extraordinarily courageous woman.

Mnangagwa did not respond to Mahoka’s rumblings, electing to let the self-confessed Grade Two dropout to publicly exhibit her tomfoolery.

Despite the current miseries she is facing in Mashonaland West province where some officials want to hound her out of the party, her berth in the 2016’s drama kings and queens’ hall of fame is undisputed.

Enter Mandiitawepi Chimene
Following in the footsteps of Mahoka, Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister, Mandi Chimene waded into the factional wars raging in the ruling ZANU-PF party as she again also tried hard to fashion herself as a fearless figure that could take on the “crocodile” unarmed.

Chimene who is perceived to be a member of a faction called Generation 40 (G40), which is opposing Mnangagwa’s alleged bid for the country’s top job, chided the “crocodile” during a solidarity meeting with war veterans where she challenged the Vice President to spell out his ambitions as far as the succession issue was concerned, while pushing President Mugabe to expel him from the party.

“Crocodiles should go to the river, they should not be in ZANU-PF because the party is not a river,” charged Chimene.

She summed up her drama-filled public antics by infamously declaring: “Izvezvi zvandiri kutaura kudai vamwe varikutoti ndakadhakwa nembanje…” (As I speak right now, some actually believe that I am under the influence of marijuana).
But the drama queen was not yet done.

She took her rubble rousing antics to another level, a little later, in Mutare during a war veterans meeting meant to unite the former freedom fighters and the ruling party after the two parted ways following a fallout over a stinging communiqué issued by the war veterans this year that was critical of ZANU-PF leadership.

Chimene reportedly threatened to physically assault War Veterans Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, during a heated exchange.

She had not taken lightly comments by Dube that she was fanning factionalism through leadership of a splinter group purporting to represent war veterans.

She was also furious that she had been accused of soliciting the services of a traditional healer to intimidate Dube.

A comment on the matter by Defence Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, easily qualifies for a comment of the year.

Sekeramayi said: “I just heard that there was a sangoma, who was doing ‘hirririitatahiriririrtata’, after I had gone. Those other issues, I have nothing to say.”

However, the drama queen disputed the allegations saying: “Don’t you think he is mad? If I was to assault him, he would surely die and I would go to jail, but what use will it be?”

Acie Lumumba; or is it
William Mutumanje?
The foul-mouthed youthful politician, broke ranks with ZANU-PF after a fallout with Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Patrick Zhuwawo.

Lumumba went on a barrage, releasing social media videos attacking ZANU-PF and the minister, whom he blamed for presiding over the nation’s mounting woes.

He then lost his marbles during the launch of his new political outfit, Viva Zimbabwe where he did the unthinkable, directly insulting President Mugabe.

For a man his age, to publicly attack a whole President using unprintable words compromised his social standing with some dismissing him as a disrespectful and attention-seeking drama king.

The prodigal son
The “professor” of boot-licking is back! Wow!
He had to, true to his trademark, boot-lick his way back into the revolutionary party.
Thrown into the wilderness for the second time, Webster Shamu, the former national political commissar, endured a cold spell in the political wilderness, but took every slight opportunity to knock at ZANU-PF’s door.

Shamu had been ejected from the ruling party for being part of a clique of ambitious ZANU-PF politicians that coalesced around former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was accused of attempting to dethrone President Mugabe.

But grace smiled on “Cremora”, as he is fondly called for his excessive bootlicking of the ZANU-PF leadership after he was brought back into the party.

He faced constant humiliation at ZANU-PF functions as he attempted to occupy VIP seats, perhaps missing the glorious old days in power.

In October, he attended a ZANU-PF rally at Kent in Norton where Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko had gone to drum up support for ZANU-PF’s Norton by-election candidate, Ronnie Chindedza, but left the venue licking his wounds.

His attempts to force his way into the briefing room where the party’s leadership, led by Mphoko, were having a working lunch, hit a snag after he was ordered out. He had to munch through a packed lunch in the comfort of his vehicle.

This incident came a short while after security agents had ordered him and his wife out of the VIP tent they had sat inside at the Heroes’ Day commemorations and had to occupy empty seats in the sun, just outside the tent reserved for chefs from where they followed proceedings.

He still did not throw in the towel and was duly rewarded by being readmitted into the party last month.

Then there was Cde Chris
The list would not be complete without mentioning the antics of one Chris Mutsvangwa.
Famed for a razor-sharp tongue, the former Cabinet minister tore through anyone who dared stand in his way, particularly perceived G40 proponents.

Below are
“I neither care for that Politburo post, nor indeed for the ministerial appointment. In fact, two days ago I asked His Excellency for the honour of dismissing me because I only came in to save the revolutionary ethos and not to be served.”— March this year.

“The Norton by-election was a stark clarion call to the apex of the leadership of the (ZANU-PF) party. G40 was frog-marching them to electoral harakiri in 2018.”— Last month. Financial Gazette