Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mujuru confirms Cde Chinx links

By Eric Chiriga

Former vice president and National People’s Party leader, Joice Mujuru, has spoken out for the first time on her links with the late musician, Dick “Cde Chinx” Chingaira, confirming to the Daily News on Sunday this week that indeed they shared a solid bond that could have cost the liberation war stalwart national hero status.

Former Vice President Joice Mujuru who is now president of National People’s Party (NPP)
Former Vice President Joice Mujuru who is now president of National People’s Party (NPP)

Following his death about a fortnight ago after a long battle with cancer, Cde Chinx — a key player in the guerrilla war against British colonialists and a staunch Zanu PF supporter — was snubbed by his yester-year comrades-in-arms from being interred at the National Heroes Acre, to the disappointment of many.

He was declared a liberation war hero, and was to be buried at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre, a recognition turned down by his disappointed family, which laid him to rest at a private cemetery on the outskirts of the capital city.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Mujuru revealed she had a cordial relationship with the Munhu Wese wemuAfrica hit-maker, whom she said was his son-in-law, and she did not see anything wrong in helping or associating with him.

While she declined to disclose how Cde Chinx, whose other surname is Makoni — being a descendant of the Makoni dynasty in Manicaland — became her son-in-law, we can reveal that Mujuru’s eldest daughter, Chipo, married into the Makoni family. In fact, she is married to the son of former Finance minister Simba Makoni, who is a cousin of Cde Chinx.

“First of all, I had not seen Chinx for over three years, but before that we were in touch. When I was still in government, I was approached by (Joseph) Nyadzayo, the photographer in the President’s Office, pleading that he had this project which he wanted to fulfil through the Zimbabwe Music Association (Zima),” Mujuru told the Daily News on Sunday.

“It really touched me as a mother, because I saw Chinx’s house being destroyed by government (during operation Murambatsvina). So I committed to helping him in a small way. Is that a sin? For your own information, Chinx is my son-in-law, and even Nyadzayo did not know it. He will hear it from you,” Mujuru said.

Nyadzayo chairs Zima. He revealed in May, during the handover of a house in Harare’s medium density suburb of Mabelreign donated to Cde Chinx that the former vice president, who was dismissed by Mugabe from Zanu PF and government, donated the bricks that were used to build the property.

Nonetheless, many had tipped Cde Chinx to join other liberation war icons laid to rest at the national shrine on account of his unique contribution to the armed struggle that brought Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980.

The war veterans had joined the bush war at a tender age and, as much as he was a fighter, his love for music made him a full-time organiser of Zanla’s choir, which acted as a morale booster for the fighting cadres when Mhere Yarira, who had previously led the group, was transferred to another station.

Cde Chinx had continued to release songs in support of Zanu PF after independence, including composing controversial songs backing the chaotic land reforms.

But following his demise on June 16, at the age of 61, Zanu PF dithered for six days, while trying to find common ground on his hero status. It became such a divisive issue that even after a decision was made to entomb his remains at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre, no one in the governing party wanted to convey the message to his family, which had waited for days for direction.

In the end, the difficult task of delivering the devastating blow to the Chingaira family was assigned to War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube and two other officials.

The family appealed against the decision, through Dube, who took up the supplication with Ignatius Chombo, the party’s secretary for administration, for discussion with Mugabe. The appeal failed to find favour with the ruling party, which insisted that he be buried at the provincial heroes acre.

The dejected family subsequently decided to bury him at Glen Forest Memorial Park.

This paper had revealed last week that Cde Chinx could not be declared a national hero because he had rubbed the authorities the wrong way on so many occasions, hence the absence of Mugabe and his deputies — Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — at his funeral.

Cabinet ministers also snubbed his burial.

In October 2014, Cde Chinx was among guests who attended a party hosted by Mujuru in Dotito, Mount Darwin to celebrate her PhD, before she was savaged from Zanu PF two months later.

The late Cde Chinx even sang a song at the gathering where he exalted Mujuru with lyrics: “Mai Mujuru vakanganisa here, haiwa havana kukanganisa (Did Mujuru err? No, she didn’t err”, and joined the police band to play the song in full.

Cde Chinx also became a marked man for not condemning Makoni, the former Finance minister, when he challenged Mugabe for the presidency in 2008 after breaking ranks with the Zanu PF leader.

Mugabe has previously made sensational claims that Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party and Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) party were birthed at Mujuru’s house.

MKD was formed in 2008, while MDC has been in existence since 1999.

Those opposed to Cde Chinx’s interment at the national shrine could not raise the real reasons behind their refusal, conveniently arguing that the party had set precedence when it denied another former musician and Zipra cadre, Give Nare, the same status when he died after independence.

Nare and his choir’s recordings were destroyed by security agents in the early 1980s while their music was banned on ZBC for fear of inciting PF Zapu supporters as the country went through one of its darkest periods.

This week, Mujuru said it was Zanu PF’s culture to ditch those who do not fit their hero definition, adding that it was not only Cde Chinx who had been forgotten.

“As human beings, we forget quickly. It is not just Chinx who was ignored. We have Anderson Mhuru, a member of the High Command, who is buried in Chinhoyi. We have Sheba Tavagwisa, a female member of the High Command who is buried in Gutu. We have Mhaka, and many others (who were ignored),” she said.

“As war veterans, we have been used and now they have dumped us. Who in the current politburo is qualified to talk about war veterans? This hero status thing is about who knows you. Who knows Chinx in that politburo? Only maybe (Sydney) Sekeramayi and Mnangagwa,” Mujuru said.

Interestingly, Mujuru also told the Daily News on Sunday that she misses her friends that she had while in Zanu PF, adding she and others who looked up to her for leadership, were hurt by the sacking.

“The way it was handled was wrong. He should have just called me and asked me to retire after having served 10 years as his deputy. I would have listened to him because of who I am. I am feeling sorry for those in Zanu PF.

“Mnangagwa celebrated (my dismissal) because it benefited him but how does he feel now that he is being mistreated just as I was being ill-treated? Why are they punishing this gentleman? Why do you have to drag him into all this mess? If Mugabe does not want Mnangagwa, why doesn’t he just fire him? He has suffered a lot and we should not celebrate when we see a fellow human being suffering because we are all humans,” she said. Daily News