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Chinotimba’s $10 000 rental debt

Newly-elected Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba has fallen back on rental “arrears” for his council-owned Belvedere flat, but the foul-mouthed Zanu PF legislator has strongly rejected the claims on the grounds that he was protected by a recent government decree annulling all outstanding bills and rates.

Clownish Joseph Chinotimba dances all the way to Parliament
Clownish Joseph Chinotimba dances all the way to Parliament

And as the saga rages on, observers now fear Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s controversial and pre-election gimmick was now set to benefit elites, and the supposedly well-heeled in a much more broader sense.

“Udza akuudza izvozvo kuti uneyi nebill rangu ndiwe kanzuru here? Munhu iyeye ari stupid, haazive kuti that was squashed (sic) nehurumende yedu yaona kuti hazvibhadharike. Kana unacho ndechako, rangu bhiri riri pazero-zero,” the rather comical and lanky ex-Harare City Council worker said when tackled on his bill which is reportedly nudging $10 000.

“I pay my bills, unoti ndikasabhadhara vanhu vekanzuru vanotambira chii?” queried Chinotimba.

Although the self-styled war veteran had been in a jovial mood, he launched into a tirade when asked about his debts and gave spurious excuses, and how the new directive protected people like him yet it only relates to rates, and water bills.

Widely known as Chinoz, the Buhera South legislator rose to “prominence” as an unflinching sidekick and praise-singer of the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, and at the height of Zimbabwe’s land invasions.

And as he goes into parliament — as an elected MP — the former Council security officer has also been in the news in recent years after grabbing a Mabelreign piece of land and building an unauthorised structure there.

This is despite the fact that the land was earmarked for churches and other social infrastructure or amenities, and no plans for the property were ever approved.

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Widely seen as a tragi-comic character, Chinotimba does not seem affected by constant bad jokes punted in his name — if not rather — the abuse of his name. And with such characters in its ranks, the eighth parliament will not be short of a fair of its humour.

“Chinotimba we heti yake yeuswaka, eheka takapinda tisu tinofanirwa kuti makorokoto kwete vana Pishai Muchauraya vamaiita makorokoto. Chero vanhu vakangonzwa kuti MP Chinoz vanosekerera,” an elated Chinotimba had told the Weekend Post.

Known for his straw or grass hat, the header became a trademark around the onset of vicious land invasions in the year 2000 and which programme soured Zimbabwe’s relations with the international community due to its chaotic nature.

In the process, about 4 000 white farmers where evicted by self-styled war veterans and replaced by nearly 170 000 families.

On his outstanding rentals, Chinotimba said it belonged to the past as Chombo had ordered all councils nationwide to write-off utility bills accumulated between January 2009 and now.

Like many in Zanu PF victors, his election has been described by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as “fraudulent”.

A pseudo-revolutionary and militant cadre, Chinoz is one among many who have survived by expressing their unflinching to their leader Robert Mugabe.

A free-spirited soul and party functionary, Chinotimba has also risen to prominence after founding the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) — to counter the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions — and is also a national vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.

In that vein, he has also tried to use such platforms as ZFTU to organise pro-Zanu PF marches and demonstrations, including the largely unsuccessful 2008 one million-men, to prop up Mugabe and at a time his support continued to decline.

While many in Zanu PF have credited him and Hunzvi for spearheading the often violent land invasions of commercial farms in Zimbabwe, he has made a massive political capital out of it.

And as his stock has risen, he even made an unsuccessful bid for the Highfield seat during the 2005 parliamentary elections, but was beaten by the MDC’s Munyaradzi Gwisai. Weekend Post