Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zanu PF neglected Cde Chinx

By Vasco Chaya

In the court of public opinion, the debate about who deserves the national hero status has always been an emotive one.

The late Cde Chinx
The late Cde Chinx

Rarely do ordinary people agree with the elite in Zanu PF on the conferment of the national hero status because the criterion used by the party’s leadership is not cast in stone.

The death of Cde Chinx has been one of the rare cases where there is convergence in thought.

The only point of departure has been whether the late musician was given the respect that he deserved while he was still living.

Despite him playing a crucial role in the liberation struggle, Cde Chinx spent most of his entire life staying in the densely-populated area of Chitungwiza after the attainment of independence while the majority of his fellow comrades he used to hide bullets with have properties in leafy suburbs of major towns and cities in the country.

Towards the end of his life, he was increasingly cutting a lone figure, with well-wishers coming to his rescue here and there.

One of his wives, Patricia Makoni, told this publication late last year that the “unknown ailment” that had afflicted him had reduced her husband to a charity case as he was no longer in a position to fend for the family.

“Cde Chinx is a man who loves to fend for his family. He is an industrious person who usually does not rely on donations,” Makoni told the Daily News upon receiving goods worth close to $500 from a pro-development social media group, Zibah last year.

The donation came after Chingaira revealed in one of the local papers that he was struggling to put food on the family table because of the “unknown sickness” and this had contributed to his ever-deteriorating health by then.

While in the interview, Cde Chinx had revealed that government had assisted him in trying to diagnose the problem; critics are of the view that they were supposed to fly him out of the country to specialists doctors just like what it does to other high profile officials considering the poor state of our health system.

Permanent secretary of in the ministry of Information George Charamba however, told mourners on Sunday that the government has done its best to save the musician’s life.

“I was working closely with Commander of Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga to save Cde Chinx’s life.

“We have done our best in paying for his medical bills as well as looking for specialists but it is unfortunate that all our efforts were in vain considering that knowledge about cancer treatment is still very shallow,” Charamba said.

“The family suggested the use of herbs to cure the illness but as a government we did not second them on that because we feared it could backfire. We also facilitated his return to the hospital but anyway, we all failed to save him.”

Unlike the bulk of partisan musicians who sing Zanu PF praises, Cde Chinx was regarded more as a nationalist artiste than partisan.

His lyrics carried national interest more than just bootlicking Mugabe and the Zanu PF leadership, and for this reason he rose to become one of the darling musicians in the country despite the political divide.

Some of the songs that set him apart include Vanhu Vose vemuAfrica, Rodger Confirm, Ngorimba and Zvikomborero among others.

While most of the partisan musicians were booed off stage on a number of state occasions, Cde Chinx was treated differently, with respect mainly because of this national appeal in his music.

However, Cde Chinx failed to benefit materially from his music because of the thin line between nationalism and partisan, hence to some, his music was meant to prop Zanu PF.

Charamba also said the government has done its best to promote Cde Chinx’s music through initiatives such as state galas.

“As the government, we have come up with a plan to promote musicians such as Cde Chinx through state galas. Cultural galas were an excuse to support the music industry and in all the events that we held we had regulars.

“Apart from promoting their music, state galas serve as a vehicle to teach youngsters real culture and history of the country hence we used to have regular musicians such as Cde Chinx, Tambaoga, Andy Brown, Chase Skuza and Sandra Ndebele among others.

“We used them because we noticed that the younger generation was mimicking Western music,” he said.

He went on to reveal they are going to release Cde Chinx’s songs that never got chance to see the light of the day as a tribute to him.

“We later realised that Chimurenga music was dying down and revived it at a music studio in town. We recorded the music but it was not published and as a tribute to Chinx we want to publish the music for the benefit of the Chingaira family,” Charamba said.

In 2005, there were reports that a house he built near Marimba Park in Harare was demolished under the controversial Operation Murambatsvina.

However, Chingaira’s family and the musician himself dismissed “the demolished Marimba Park house story” as fake.

“Cde Chinx never acquired a residential stand near Marimba Park or Kambuzuma. Even if he was alive, he would tell you the story is unfounded and false one,” his son Deeds told the Daily News yesterday.

“Fabricated stories usually travel furthest. Cde Chinx has three houses that we know as a family. The first one is the Chitungwiza, a house that he acquired just after independence, it was a core house with just two rooms and then he developed it into a full house.

“I am not sure how exactly he acquired the Chitungwiza house as we were young, maybe it was given to him or he bought it I do not know.”

The other house is in Norton where his second wife Ntombizodwa stays.

“The Norton property is a flat that he acquired again after independence, the latest property we know is the Sentosa house that was awarded to him by Zima recently,” he said.

In a previous interview with the Daily News, Cde Chinx said: “To the contrary, I did not have a house in Kambuzuma. What happened is that these bad guys just created a rumour and it flourished and it was all over the media, Internet and social networks.

“Those guys wanted to create mayhem and to make sure President Robert Mugabe received criticism from ex-combatants. Handina kumboputsirwa imba, ndanga ndisina imba yacho (No house of mine was destroyed because I didn’t have a house in the first place).

“Almost everyone was talking about it. They were saying Chinx had shot down a helicopter; his house has been destroyed, when I was actually drinking beer in some bar (on that said day). I was actually asking for a nice cold Pilsener,” Cde Chinx said then.

Deeds went on to say his father was one of the first beneficiaries of the land reform programme in early 2000.

“Cde Chinx has a 120-hectare farm in Marondera, he specialised in crops and cattle at the farm among other activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Zima chairperson Joseph Nyadzayo once told the Daily News his organisation donated a house to Cde Chinx as he never benefited from his music.

Nyadzayo said Chingaira deserves all form of help and support.

“Cde Chinx’s consistency in safeguarding the country’s heritage through music should not be underrated at all, he remained loyal to what he believed despite that the fact that his compositions or creations did not translate into cash or anything tangible.

“Actually he has never benefited anything from music but just his fame,” Nyadzayo said before handing the Sentosa house to the late Chingaira. Daily News