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George Charamba

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George Charamba
George Charamba
Born George Charamba
(1963-05-04)May 4, 1963
Residence Harare
Nationality Zimbabwe
Citizenship Zimbabwe
Occupation
  • Civil Servant
Years active 2000 - current
Employer Government of Zimbabwe
Organization Ministry of Information
Known for
  • Spokesperson of the President of Zimbabwe
  • Being the person behind the nom de plume Nathaniel Manheru
Political party
Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
Spouse(s) Idaishe Olivia Charamba

George Charamba is Zimbabwe's presidential spokesperson as well as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information. He's also been reported to be the person using the the nom de plume Nathaniel Manheru which writes a political column in the The Herald. Through the column, Manheru has attacked opponents of his party Zanu-PF as well as political opponents inside the party.

Background

Charamba was appointed to the government by Robert Mugabe in 2000. His second wife Idaishe Olivia Charamba died on 14 May 2017 at West End Hospital in Harare from liver complications. Charamba was once married to Rudo Charamba.

Educational Qualification

He hold a degree in English from the University of Zimbabwe. He was also awarded the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chevening Scholarship, and completed a Masters in Journalism/Media Studies at Cardiff University.

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As Nathaniel Manheru

Charamba has been identified a number of times to be the person behind the nom de plume Nathaniel Manheru, which pens politically charged articles in state owned publication, The Herald. Jonathan Moyo, who has been Charamba's boss at least twice as Minister of Information has revealed that Charamba is Nathaniel Manheru.[1]

Charamba has used the column to attack political opponents both inside and outside Zanu-PF.[1][2] Charamba has repeatedly denied that he is Manheru, but has defended the use of nom de plume's in the press and has said he wishes that Manheru continues to write the column:

Firstly, I am not Manheru. However, do you know why people use pseudonyms? It’s in statutes. It’s done so that readers don’t concentrate on who the writer is, but the arguments being put forward. Whether the writer is a coward or a courageous man doesn’t matter. Whether people respond with anger, civility or what, it does not take away the arguments. Whoever this Manheru is, I pray for him to continue talking.”[2]

Salarygate

In the Premier Service Medical Aid Society salaries scandal that came to be known as Salarygate Charamba, as board member, was said to have contributed to approving the exorbitant salaries to be paid to Cuthbert Dube and to board members. He was also reported to have benefited by himself being paid an exorbitant board membership fee. His board fees were said to have been a total of US$109 397,50 in 2013, suggesting he could not blow the whistle on bloated earnings because he was also heavily benefitting.[3]

Charamba admitted but only to being responsible because they didn't “ask the right questions”. He didn't comment on his own benefits from the salaries.[4]

“I agree, this is why, in fact, if the requirement is that we resign today, we would, because we failed Zimbabweans; we failed PSMAS and if we have to justify our continued stay on the board. We must be seen to be taking appropriate remedial action, I really admit that on that particular score, we did not ask correct questions and for that reason we deserve to be condemned,”[4]

Fights with fellow Zanu-PF Members

Wrong Presidential Speech and arguments with Chris Mutsvangwa

After President Robert Mugabe embarrassingly read the wrong speech during the official opening of parliament in September 2015, said to have been provided by Charamba, a harsh exchange ensued between War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and Charamba.[5]

Against Jonathan Moyo

On 28 January, in an interview on ZiFM Stereo, Charamba who was believed to be siding with the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction during the period of Zanu-PF factional wars to succeed President Robert Mugabe, said in apparent reference to Jonathan Moyo:

“There are many sinister minds that speak in the name of the President, who are in fact successionists and it won’t be long before the headlines give you the story. Some have been meeting nicodemously with the People First, but they are still in Zanu-PF... Here are little men with absolutely no iota of history behind them thinking they can one day emerge as leaders of this country with their little minds thinking baldness is age, it isn’t... The Constitution of Zimbabwe is as clear as daylight. One tragedy of those little fellas, and I call them little fellas, they confuse media skills with social skills. They think you can scale up a political ladder by tweeting, who think when you manipulate one or two headlines, you have a social base for launching your stupid ambitions, they will come to grief, get it from me. [6]

Responding to the interview via Twitter, Jonathan Moyo said:

"George Charamba's media voices are no longer of a civil servant but of a politician in aid of a desperate faction. That's unacceptable!

Zanu PF had 2 factions. Mujuru's faction was expelled in 2014 & now exits in the media as PF. Thus only one faction remains the problem! Some of us with hard lessons on the 2004 tragedy of factions resisted the Mujuru faction not for the other faction but for Pres Mugabe!

George Charamba must not abuse his civil servant role as Info Perm Sec to serve successionists.That will be resisted as it was in 2014![7]

Controversies

Abusing Wife

Charamba was accused of beating his then wife Rudo in a domestic row over a missing gun. The issue was exposed by the editor of The Voice, Lovemore Mataire who attacked the author of the Herald’s Nathaniel Manheru column saying he was a “British agent” and “saboteur”. He said Manheru was a “double agent” and “liar” who gushed “stinking effluent”. Mataire claimed Manheru who is Charamba; indulged in “spousal abuse and other immoral activities”. Charamba had earlier described Mataire as a failed and incompetent editor who makes “spectacular political and editorial goofs”.

Charamba was said to have assaulted his wife on February 24 2006 at their Mandara home after a gun dispute. Sources said Charamba attacked his ailing wife, Rudo, who had just been released from hospital at the time, angering family members and government officials. The sources said the case was reported at Borrowdale police station after relatives and friends intervened. Charamba was said to have in turn made a report at Highlands police station about a missing gun.

When asked for comment by The Standard, he referred queries to his lawyer Johannes Tomana who said:

“There was that matter by the police but the case was withdrawn. Check that with the wife (Rudo).”

[8]

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Moyo-Charamba debate in Zanu PF’s succession drama, Alex Magaisa, Published: =29 January 2016, Retrieved 2 February 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richard Muponde, Ghost writer haunts ministers, The Southern Eye, Published: 5 August 2014, Retrieved: 2 Feb 2016
  3. Charamba paid over US$100 000, The Independent, Published: 7 February 2014, Retrieved 2 February 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 Nduduzo Tshuma Salarygate: Charamba admits failure, Southern Eye, Published: 7 February 2014, Retrieved 2 February 2016
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named indep1
  6. Exclusive interview with George Charamba. ZiFm Stereo, Published: 28 Jan 2016, Retrieved: 30 Jan 2015
  7. Audio: George Charamba Blasts Jonathan Moyo And G40..., Newsvyb, Published: 29 Jan 2016, Retrieved 30 Jan 2016
  8. Charamba accused of assaulting wife, Standard, published: October 5, 2017, retrieved: May 16, 2017