So who is this Chipangano Cde President?

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There is no denying President Robert Mugabe is a given orator of exceptional intellectual quality.

His vision and leadership excellence is arguably unparalleled on the African continent – his power to convince indisputable.

But I have one serious problem – a puzzle that I have failed to unravel about the Comrade President.

His control over the all powerful national security system is not in doubt as, unless I am totally lost, is the loyalty the generals accord him.

In his party he commands the highest respect – little behind-the-door whispered conspiracies remain that – no one dares disobey, let alone challenge him.

Such is the obedience, loyalty or is it fear, among even the party’s strongmen of the politburo that one afternoon, years back, Margaret Dongo, the Sunningdale political firebrand, could not help describe them as “Mugabe’s wives”.

That anyone inside Zanu PF could defy his orders is inconceivable – just as it is hard to believe the passion with which President Mugabe has spoken about peace in recent days could be mere pretentiousness.

That is where my problem lies – the violence that Zanu PF youths continue to unleash around the country.

Is President Mugabe preaching peace by day and turning into a merchant of death by night? Or, has the President lost control of a party in tatters to an extent members can defy the party’s First Secretary with such disdainful impunity?

A picture of the President playing chameleon is most popular among political opponents and those whose understanding of President Mugabe’s invincibility is informed by the history of Zanu PF.

To these people anything that happens in Zanu PF or is done by that party can only be by President Mugabe’s say-so. No one dares disobey His Excellency the President, Commander-in-Chief and First Secretary of the revolutionary party!

But President Mugabe has taken every opportunity in the past months to condemn violence. Like I have already said, it is not easy, even if one tries, to doubt his sincerity.

On Thursday, he ordered members of the Zanu PF Central Committee to stop violence at all costs.

He has gone to the extent of demanding a “violence stakeholder meeting” where top leaders of the country’s major parties should come clean with each other and agree to bring to an end the violence that has become a culture of Zimbabwe’s politics.
The President spoke unequivocally about his desire to see a violence-free election.

“We win elections by the nature of our policies. We do not win them by way of fisting; we do not convert people by way of coercing.

“We did agree to the principle of having a meeting of leading bodies, that is the Central Committee, with equivalent bodies of the two MDCs to discuss the issue of peace as we move towards elections so that people can canvass for support peacefully,” he said.

“Let us work for a culture of peace and non-violence and let us take this message to our province and districts and people will welcome that.”

I was an adult when President Mugabe took reins of the country and am, therefore, no stranger to his cunning political intellect. The fellow can be as wily as any fox could be and can bamboozle anyone at will, but – wrong as I may be – I believe he wants peace this time around.

Who, therefore, is Chipangano in this picture? A group of violent youths claiming to be Zanu PF members and whose leaders’ names are known in structures of the party. These people are not a mystery.

Their faces have been splashed on newspaper pages – in action – beating up police in uniform, manhandling MPs and roughing up innocent passersby outside the House of Parliament while President Mugabe was in the middle of delivering a message of peace inside the House.

The Parly fiasco happened twice – during public hearings on the Human Rights Bill and at the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament.

The incidents are among many that include the brutal attack of market stallholders in Mbare and Highfield and the beating-up – in broad daylight and in the presence of the police – of participants to the Copac outreach programme at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare, Chipangano’s realm.

So, if President Mugabe is sincere, as I believe he is, what gives these Chipangano hoodlums the guts to defy the party leader?

Why are they not arrested, even when they are photographed beating up police officers? Political eccentrics like the Chipangano group are the reason why people doubt your commitment to peace, Cde President.

tchipangura@newsday.co.zw