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Oppah Chamu Zvipange Muchinguri|
December 14, 1958
|Education||University of Zimbabwe|
|Alma mater||University of Zimbabwe|
|Employer||Government of Zimbabwe|
|Organization||Ministry Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education|
|Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front|
Anthony Kashiri (m. 2015) |
Tapiwa Rushesha (divorced 1990)
|Children||Tanya Rushesha, Natasha Rushesha|
Oppah Muchinguri is the current Minister of Water, Env & Climate in the Republic of Zimbabwe. She is aligned to the ruling ZANU-PF led by Robert Mugabe. Muchinguri is also a member of the Central Committee and Politburo representing Manicaland Province. She is also a member of parliament for Mutasa Central Constituency and minister of Higher and tertiary Education.
Background and Personal Life
Oppah Zvipange Muchinguri was born and raised up in Mutasa District's Zongoro Area, close to the eastern border town of Mutare in the Manicaland province in the then Rhodesia now Zimbabwe. She was born Oppah Chamu Zvipange Muchinguri on the 14th of December 1958. Muchinguri was married to Tapiwa Rushesha but the two divorced in the 1990s. The two had children together named Natasha Rushesha and Tanya Rushesha. In May 2013, it was reported in sections of the media that Muchinguri was dating a clergyman, Bishop Anthony Kashiri. At the time, Muchinguri said that they would get married in December the same year. She however only announced publicly that she was married to Kashiri in January 2015.
She graduated with a Master of Science degree in International Relations from the University of Zimbabwe in 2013. Oppah did her primary school at St James Zongoro, an Anglican run institution about 30 kilometres from Mutare, along Nyanga Road.
She participated in the liberation war of the Second Chimurenga fighting in the Josiah Tongogara- commanded Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA). She received her military training in Mozambique and was also passenger in a car crash that killed Tongorara on the eve of independence in December 1979.
At independence, she was appointed Private Secretary to the President between 1980 and 1981. She had been Deputy Minister twice, first of State for External Affairs between 1989 and 1993 and of Environment and Tourism between 1993 and 1997. Her first ministerial post came in 1997 when she was appointed Minister of State in the President’s Office, a post she held until 2000. Muchinguri's popularity came in 2005 when she was appointed Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development. In the factional fights in the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF), Muchinguri was allegedly linked to the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction which was said to have a mission to prevent Joice Mujuru from succeeding Robert Mugabe.
In 2011, Muchinguri lambasted top ZANU PF officials who were using their positions to amass wealth calling them "crooks". She even threatened to expose those involved in the grabbing of farms and looting of diamonds.
- Secretary to the President
- Governor of Manicaland Province (2000-2003)
- Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development (2005-2009)
- Central Committee Member
- Politburo Member
- Member of Parliament for Mutasa Central Constituency-2013
- Secretary General of ZANU PF women's League
- Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education in the ZANU PF party (2014)
- Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education (2014)
- Minister of Water, Env & Climate (2015)
Muchinguri made headlines in 2014 when she voluntarily stepped down from her position as the secretary of the women's League in the ZANU PF party. The stepping down was received differently by the Zimbabwean public, some viewed it as a calculated move to bring the first lady into the mainstream Zimbabwean political arena.
Muchinguri, Grace Mugabe and Factionalism
During the period toward the ZANU PF People’s congress, Oppah Muchinguri and Grace Mugabe went on a crusade denouncing what they called divisive elements in the ZANU PF party. Muchinguri together with the first lady openly accused the then vice president Joice Mujuru of fanning factionalism in the party and also plotting to unseat Robert Mugabe. Muchinguri has been generally viewed as a Mugabe loyalist and has also been closely linked to Emmerson Mnangagwa and Jonathan Moyo.
In 2014, Muchinguri was one of the people appointed by president Robert Mugabe in the cabinet reshuffle. This appointment came after the controversial ZANU PF congress which also saw the demotion of some senior member as well as cabinet ministers. Muchinguri was given the post of Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education which a previously led by Olivia Muchena who was fired on allegations of factionalism.
- Muchinguri was alleged to have dated public figures such as Simon Chimbetu. The song were further fuelled by Chopper who went on to penn a song titled “Oppah”. Muchinguri also divorced her husband in the 1990’s. Some have also speculated that Muchinguri a girlfriend to former Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) leader Josiah Tongogara in the 1970’s.
- There was an audio tape which circulated on social media in which Muchinguri was recorded discussing other party members. In the recording she is heard "plotting" how to deal with other party bigwigs.
Some media houses reported that Muchinguri's daughter Tanya Rushesha was fathered by Robert Mugabe. The allegations were brought forward by a former Mugabe bodyguard only identified as Musori. Musori claimed Muchinguri was once involved in a relationship with President Mugabe whilst she was a secretary at Sate House. The rumours or claims remained unconfirmed and there was no response from either Muchinguri or Mugabe on the matter.
The late musician Simon Chimbetu sang a song titled Oppah which talks about his love for such a woman. It was widely believed it was dedicated to Muchinguri.
Oppah Muchinguri and Grace Mugabe
Oppah Muchinguri and Grace Mugabe, with Amos Midzi in the middle
Mugabe greets Cde Nicholas Goche with Oppah Muchinguri in the background, before the politburo meeting at the party headquarters in Harare
Oppah Muchinguri attending ZANU-PF Conference in Chinhoyi in December 2013
Oppah Muchinguri chats to Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa
Oppah Muchinguri at one of Grace Mugabe's Meet the People Rallies in Bulawayo in October 2014
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- Oppah Muchinguri finds new love, Nehanda Radio, Published: May 14, 2013, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
- Oppah Muchinguri finds new love, Weekend Post, Retrieved:24 January 2015, Published:12 May 2013
- Muchinguri finds new love, The Herald, Published:24 January 2015, Retrieved:24 January 2015
- OPPAH MUCHINGURI GRADUATES FROM UZ, NewsDzeZimbabwe, Published: September 14, 2013, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
- Oppah Muchinguri, Africa Confidential, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
- Dumisani Muleya, Zanu PF factions bug each other’s hotel rooms Nehanda Radio, Published: December 9, 2011, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
- Misa, Muchinguri says Zanu full of crooks, The Zimbabwean, Published: February 5, 2011, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
- , Oppah Muchinguri, Africa Confidential, Published:January 5, 2014, Retrieved:15 Dec 14
- L Mataire Mujuru Betrayed Our Trust, The Herald, Published:13 December 14, Retrieved:15 December 14
- , Oppah Muchinguri Finds New Love, Zimbabwe, Published:13 May 14, Retrieved:15 December 14
- H. Fisher, Mugabe is Father of Oppah Muchinguri’s Daughter Tanya Rushesha Claims Ex-Bodyguard,Now Daily, Published: December 13, 2014, Retrieved:30 January 2015