Christopher Mutsvangwa

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Christopher Mutsvangwa
Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zanu PF
Born Christopher Hatikure Mutsvangwa
(1955-05-24) May 24, 1955 (age 61)
Nationality Zimbabwe
Occupation
  • Entrepreneur
  • Farmer
  • Politician
Employer Government of Zimbabwe
Political party
Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
Spouse(s) Monica Mutsvangwa (wife)

Christopher Mutsvangwa, commonly referred to as just Chris Mutsvangwa is a Zimbabwean politician, businessman and member of the ZANU PF party. He is however under suspension from the party for 3 years for gross misconduct and disloyalty a result of apparently fanning factionalism in the party. Mutsvangwa is also former welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators and Former Political Detainees Minister, a position from which he was dismissed in March 2016.

He started his political career during the Second Chimurenga and has also served both government and party in various capacities in independent Zimbabwe. He is the former leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, a position he was nominated to in November 2014 after former leader Jabulani Sibanda was ousted as part of the Zanu-PF and kicked out in December 2015[1].

Background

Christopher Hatikure Mutsvangwa was born on 24 May 1955 at the now Harare Central Hospital in colonial Salisbury in Rhodesia .[2] He spent his early childhood in the high density suburb of Mbare before going back to his rural home in Chief Nyamweda's area. He is married to a fellow politician and former deputy minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

Educational Background

He did his primary education at Masawi and Marirangwe schools.[2] Mutsvangwa attended Kutama College in Mashonaland West province for his secondary education from 1972 to 1974.[3] He then continued his education at St Augustine Penhalonga in Manicaland from 1974. He was also one of the few academics in post-colonial Zimbabwe to travel abroad for university education.[3] He studied Bsc Management and Information Systems (Informatics) at Boston University in the USA in 1984. He did his post graduate studies at St Johns University where he studied Master in Public Administration in 1990.[3] He also studied at the University of Zimbabwe.[3]

He was one of the seven black students selected to study law at the university of Rhodesia.[2] He was in school with his contemporary politicians such as Ignatius Chombo and was taught by the likes of former minister Stan Mudenge.[2] He completed his secondary school at St Augustine Penhalonga in 1974 with the best Advanced level result and he won a prize for that.[2]

Liberation Struggle

Mutsvangwa left University education in 1975 to join the liberation struggle in Mozambique in 1975. This he did together with some of his colleagues most of whom became nationalist politicians after the Second Chimurenga. He belongs to the crop of educated intellectual who joined the guerrilla movements of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU).[2]

Diplomatic Service

Mutsvangwa was among the pioneer corps to be sent out of the country on national duty. He served in Brussels Belgium where he was accredited by the European Union. He also served at the United Nations in New York USA together with late hero Stan Mudenge. In 1989, he was part of the observer team that observed elections in 1990 which saw the coming in of SWAPO as the new ruling party. Mutsvangwa left diplomatic service in 1990.[2]

Professional, Business Life

Mutsvangwa was appointed Director-General of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in 1991. In 1994 eyeing business opportunities of the dotcom era, he left for a career in telecommunications as one of the early pioneers of the cellular, broadband and internet industry of Zimbabwe. He was a leader consultant for the deployment of the first Siemens GSM digital switch of NetOne in 1998 and the first CISCO internet switch of TelOne in 1999. He was also behind several other trunk and ADSL projects with TelOne. Ambassador Mutsvangwa was a key player in the formation of Potraz together with the late Sarah Kachingwe, then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.[2]

Abandoning a promising family business career he waded back to active politics and was elected Secretary of the Harare Province of Zanu-PF in 2000. After the elections in 2002, he was posted to the People’s Republic of China as ambassador. His brief was to anchor and drive the Look East Policy as Zimbabwe’s riposte to sanctions and regime change with the help of a China in phenomenal resurgence.[2]


Politics, Ambassadorial Post

The epochal land reform programme of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF by the close of the past century spawned new national challenges even as it opened up so many opportunities for the multitude of Zimbabweans.[2] The assignment was a great success as it blunted and eventually overturned the western onslaught on Zimbabwe. The Look East Policy born out of necessity by President Mugabe has since become a boon not only to Zimbabwe but to the African continent as a whole. The now very topical African Renaissance is very much a product of the engagement with China that is rapidly ascending to pole position of the world economy. In 2012, Ambassador Mutsvangwa became Chairman of Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, a company that oversees the sale of US$2,5 billion worth of Zimbabwe’s treasure trove of diamonds, platinum, coal, chrome, nickel and other minerals.[4] He has successfully engaged major players in the diamond trade to blunt the effect of unfair American sanctions that are contrary to the KPCS spirit. He has also been at the heart of engaging the Obama administration to the extent of helping in Mayor Andrew Young to Zimbabwe as a Special Envoy of President Obama to President Mugabe.[2]

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As the War Veterans Leader

Mutsvangwa was nominated uncontested to be the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association on 16 November 2014. He was nominated at an elective congress held in Masvingo, replacing controversial Jabulani Sibanda who was expelled from the party on allegations of pursuing a factional agenda and fanning factionalism. Mutsvangwa was nominated uncontested.[5]

Factional fights in ZANU PF 2014

Mutsvangwa was very vocal against the Mujuru camp led by vice president Joice Mujuru. He discredited the group by arguing that they wanted to remove president Robert Mugabe from power through unconstitutional and illegal means. In a weekly program held on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC TV), Mutsvangwa launched a barrage of attack on Joice Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa, Jabulani Sibanda and Rugare Gumbo for fanning factionalism in the party. He was also on the fore front of calling for the resignation of Joice Mujuru from the presidium. For this reason, he has been described by some sections of the society as a Mugabe boot licker who is always showering praises on Mugabe.

Appointment as Cabinet Minister

Mutsvangwa was appointed minister in the newly created ministry of War Veterans and War Collaborators. The ministry incorporates the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. He was one of the few loyalists who were awarded by Robert Mugabe after the purging of the Mujuru loyalists. He was also elected into the ZANU PF central committee which is the party's highest decision making body.

Factional fights in ZANU PF 2015 - 2016

Vote of No Confidence by Mash West

In December 2015 the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial executive has passed a vote of no confidence in Mutsvangwa and recommended for his recall from Parliament. This happened days after his wife Monica Mutsvangwa had herself had a vote of no confidence passed on her by the Zanu-PF Women’s League.[6] Chris Mutsvangwa was accused of gross misconduct and disloyalty and treachery following his utterances in the media where he was quoted saying: “we will always respect the institution of marriage and he (Saviour Kasukuwere) is confused and conflating the institution of marriage and that of the State.” This in reference to President Mugabe and the First Lady, Grace Mugabe. [7]

The December vote of no confidence was however not executed by the party, and was instead left hanging.

Media Fight against Jonathan Moyo

In February 2016, Mutsvangwa began a public fight in the media against Jonathan Moyo accusing him of being Ndabaningi Sithole's son as well as working to destroy Zanu-PF.[8]

Vote of No Confidence by War Vets

On 12 February 2016, following a rally in Chiweshe held by Grace Mugabe, and one in which she attacked verbally the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction for having ambitions to succeed Mugabe, a vote of no confidence was on Mutsvangwa by some members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) for allegedly disrespecting President Mugabe. They said the suspended members were bringing the association’s name into disrepute.[9]

Defying Vote of No Confidence and Support of War Vets

On 15 February 2016, other members of ZNLWVA (provincial chairpersons and national executive members from Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces) met in Harare where they declared support for Chris Mutsvangwa and dismissed the vote of no-confidence passed against him and three other members on 12 February. The meeting accused the G40 of being agents of regime change and also criticised the verbal abuse of senoir Zanu-PF party members by Grace Mugabe. The meeting was addressed by ZNLWA Secretary General, Victor Matemadanda. The meeting sought to adopt a special resolution to convene an emergency general meeting of freedom fighters to look into recent developments in the association, the party and the nation. The resolution was passed and the meeting claimed they would take the resolution the patron of ZNLWVA, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.[10]

ZNLWVA Meeting in Harare on 15 February 2016

3 Year Suspension from Zanu-PF & Dismissal from Cabinet

In a politburo meeting held on 3 March 2016 in Harare, Chris Mutsvangwa was suspended for 3 years for gross misconduct and disloyalty. His wife, Monica Mutsvangwa and Women’s Affairs secretary for Administration Esphina Nhari were also suspended in the same meeting.

Being suspended members they would not be allowed to hold any positions in the party during the 3 years. The two Mutsvangwas would however remain Zanu-PF National Assembly members for Norton and Senator for Manicaland, respectively.[11]

Days later, on 4 March, President Mugabe dismissed Christopher Mutsvangwa from Cabinet as Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators and Former Political Detainees Minister, replacing him with his deputy, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube.[12]

Mutsvangwa was quoted in the media the next day commenting that he didn't care about being fired because he preferred elected office to serving at the discretion of an individual:

I neither care for that politburo post, nor indeed for the ministerial appointment. So Norton constituency, yes; war veterans’ chairmanship, yes; politburo and Cabinet appointments – I don’t’ really care. 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.... I am in a different mould from the vapid and vacuous ‘Gang of Four’ of Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Zhuwao. They are clutching on the robes of Jiang Jing and Mao era Gang of Four lunacy.[13]

References

  1. Tendai Mugabe, Latest: Mutsvangwa suspended, Herald, Published: 14 Dec 2015, Retrieved: 14 Dec 2015
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 , He Abandoned Law School in Pursuit of Independence, "The Herald", published:24 Jul 2013,retrieved:22 Nov 2014"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Christopher Mutsvangwa, About, "Official Facebook Page",retrieved:22 Nov 2014"
  4. , Profile,retrieved:22 Nov 2014"
  5. George Maponga, Mutsvangwa new war vets boss, The Sunday News, Published: 16 Nov 2014, Retrieved: 6 Dec 2015
  6. Tendai Mugabe Mutsvangwa booted out , The Herald , Published: 90 Dec 2015, Retrieved: 13 Feb 2016
  7. Tendai Mugabe, LATEST: Mutsvangwa suspended, The Herald, Published: 14 Dec 2014, Retrieved: 13 Feb 2016
  8. Munyaradzi Musiiwa Moyo recruited to destroy Zanu-PF: Mutsvangwa, The Herald , Published:8 Feb 2016 , Retrieved: 13 Feb 2016
  9. Fidelis Munyoro Mutsvangwa, wife booted out , The Herald , Published: 13 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 13 Feb 2016
  10. War veterans breathe fire •rally behind Mutsvangwa •accuse G40 of fronting regime change, The Herald, Published:16 February 2016 , Retrieved: 18 February 2016
  11. Felex Share, Mutsvangwas booted out, The Herald , Published: 4 Mar 2016, Retrieved:4 Mar 2016
  12. Kuda Bwititi and Lincoln Towindo, Mutsvangwa kicked out of Cabinet, The Sunday Mail, Published: 6 Mar 2016 , Retrieved:7 Mar 2016
  13. Everson Mushava, I don’t care, Mutsvangwa tells Mugabe, NewsDay , Published:05 Mar 2016 , Retrieved:7 Mar 2016