FORMER Zanu PF youth leader and Mbare-based vigilante group Chipangano frontman Jim Kunaka must be arrested “because he is a criminal”, the ruling party’s Youth League boss Pupurai Togarepi has said.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Togarepi’s comments came in the wake of Kunaka’s apology for his role in the violence that rocked one of Harare’s poorest suburbs, Mbare, for years before he was stampeded out of Zanu PF late last year as internecine succession fights took over.
Kunaka early this week told a South African television channel that he was sorry for his role in the hounding of opposition activists and supporters, particularly in Harare.
“I was the political violence master when I was in Zanu PF, but what I want people to know is that when you join a cult, you behave like the people in the cult,” he said, adding the “bad” things he did under the Zanu PF terror group Chipangano “were unintentional”.
But Togarepi dismissed Kunaka’s claims that the ruling party, which has over the years been accused of using crude tactics to retain power, is “a violence cult”, saying Zanu PF had renounced violence.
“If what you are saying is true, then Jim Kunaka is a criminal who should be arrested right away. The President RG [Robert Gabriel] Mugabe is on record calling upon the youths to desist from all forms of violence for the good of our country and development,” Togarepi said.
“He [Kunaka] should be warned [not] to drag Zanu PF into his criminal tendencies because his violent behaviour is at variance with our revolutionary principles of peace and development for all of our people despite their different persuasions. He has joined these fringe parties because the majority of them thrive on chaos.”
But the former Zanu PF provincial youth leader shot back, threatening to “spill the beans”.
“Togarepi must be careful what he wishes for, unless he wants me to spill the beans and release a list,” he said.
“My understanding of, for example, the International Criminal Court, is that they do not indict foot soldiers, but commanders.
Togarepi must explain why I was not arrested at the time I committed the offences [and] wants me jailed now.”
Kunaka said he was ready to be arrested.
“Youths are being used like condoms and it is time we spoke out,” he said.
Kunaka was expelled from Zanu PF as part of a group of leading personalities aligned to then Vice-President Joice Mujuru, accused of a litany of charges, including treason.
Opposition People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his party welcomed Kunaka’s apology, but wanted more.
“It is welcome, but what is critical is for him and others who agreed with their modus oparendi to help rectify the problem. They created the monster and they must work to remove it. It is no help to announce to people that they are now church-going after they crowned the devil. Remove the coronation of the modern-day Jezebel, then we will forgive,” he said. MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu concurred.
“We are happy that he has publicly acknowledged his wrongs and will be happy if others follow and see the light. Our struggle has never been about personalities, but also to liberate even the oppressor and those that abet him,” he said.
“We would want to see this permeate through the whole of Zanu PF, including the First Lady [Grace Mugabe]. You would probably have
heard her say Mashonaland Central is a no-go area for the opposition. That is implied violence and she should take a leaf out of the young Kunaka.”