TWO words can only describe some of Zimbabwe’s new lawmakers — hilarious and shocking.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA
Amazing how history shapes events. Only in 2000, a virtually unknown Joseph Chinotimba made international headlines when he championed the chaotic land invasions – undoubtedly the most caricatured character in Zimbabwe when it comes to issues both comic and depicting educational deficiencies.
But fast-forward to 2013, the same Chinoz, as Chinotimba is most commonly referred to, must now be officially addressed as Honourable Joseph Chinotimba, Member of the House of Assembly for Buhera South!
His immediate intent is to take indigenous languages to Parliament to enable him to debate freely. His ambition, however, is to land a Cabinet post as Lands minister “to finish his business of taking land”. He is, however, overly secretive about his family and personal life.
Chinotimba, the MP-elect for Buhera South in Manicaland, can’t wait to make his maiden appearance in the House of Assembly and is enthusiastic about his recent election after several misses in the past elections.
A lot is expected from Chinotimba, but not on the serious side though, given his comic character which has made him the butt of jokes, mocking his broken English.
In an interview with NewsDay on Wednesday, Chinotimba proved to be quite a canny character in his own way. Despite his evident lack of education, he is one man who tries every trick in the book to convince anyone of his ideas no matter how crude.
Asked which ministry he would wish to have in the coming Cabinet, the self-confessed commander-in-chief of farm invasions said: “I don’t care about any ministerial post. It’s up to (President Robert) Mugabe and not me. I don’t need to answer that question. What I want are the people. I said I wanted to be Education minister because I had seen that (Education minister David) Coltart was not up to the task and I wish to be there. You know it’s impossible to get a ministerial post, but you are asking me about that.
“If they want, they can give me the Ministry of Lands so that I finish off what I had started (taking over land). What are you waiting for? You don’t even have a farm and the MDC people are angry with (Morgan) Tsvangirai because they don’t have farms.”
The former security guard with Harare City Council said those claiming that elections were rigged were “sick in the head”.
“Now they want to go to court. They lost, but now they say the X they put on Tsvangirai went to Mugabe, ask the X why it went to Mugabe when they put it on Tsvangirai,” Chinotimba said.
“They say Chinoz stole the election, that’s nonsense, bhora rakapinda mugedhi (referring to Zanu PF 2013 campaign slogan). We are like fish and the people are like water so we stay with the people. I did not go to Buhera for camping, I stay there and only come here (Harare) to see people like you.”
Quizzed on what plans he had for the people of his constituency, the militant Chinotimba said: “I don’t want to lie to them, so let them come with what they want.
I did not promise them anything. I gave them what they wanted in schools and clinics. Don’t ask me that here, just go to Buhera and see for yourself what I did for the people.”
Given challenges in conversing in English, Chinotimba said that won’t be a problem when he goes to Parliament given that he was good in Shona.
“I can use Shona, Ndebele or any indigenous language. Why English only? I don’t work for (Tony) Blair (former British Prime Minister). Ask me what I should do if I can’t speak Shangani? We don’t need English in Parliament,” he said.
On his personal life, Chinotimba said he would keep it a private until he dies hinting that he had several wives and children.
“I won’t tell you about my personal life, it’s my secret and you will only hear about that when I die. All my wives and children will be there.”
Chinotimba said no white man would be removed from the farms, but they should work with others.
“He (white man) will only have to work with others. It doesn’t help for one to occupy huge tracts of land and refuse to share with others. No white man will be removed from the farms, but if he refuses to share, the people will take the land,” he said.
Asked on his plans for journalists if he goes to Parliament, Chinotimba chose to dodge the question saying: “Which organisation do you work for? Do you agree that Chinotimba won the elections? Do you agree that Mugabe won the elections?
“I sent more than 600 Zanu PF T-shirts to the UK where I know they don’t like me, but people will be putting them on. I will be there in the UK through my T-shirts.
“It doesn’t matter whether I went to school or not, I learnt how to hold a gun without going to school. What does being an MP or a minister have to do with going to school? I don’t care which committee I will be in.”
Chinotimba pledged to work with councillors in his constituency.
“I will work with MDC-T councillors in my ward, they are two of them and I will work with them otherwise people will say I am a stupid leader. I will use the money to develop even their wards,” he said.