HARARE’s politically-volatile neighbourhood of Mbare is on tenterhooks following reports that the leader of a Zanu PF-linked vigilante group, Jim Kunaka, has dumped the Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First and rejoined the ruling party.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
For years accused of unleashing an orgy of violence across the sprawling high-density suburb, the group, known as Chipangano, had gone into hibernation following Kunaka’s axing from the ruling party during a brutal purge that rocked the former liberation movement at the tail-end of 2014.
Kunaka was part of a group of senior Zanu PF activists shunted out of the ruling party for allegedly sympathising with Mujuru’s alleged bid to topple President Robert Mugabe from power.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party was terrified that Kunaka might revive Chipangano.
“Kunaka confessed to thuggery and murder as well as terror in Mbare. Our members in Mbare and its immediate environs have suffered at the hands of that group and the fact that its lynchpin Kunaka has re-joined the violent party is a cause for great concern,” Gutu said.
“We fear that the terrorist group Chipangano is still alive, although it might have been quiet because its frontman had temporarily dumped it. We are naturally disappointed that Kunaka is going to Zanu PF after claiming to have repented.
“But this should be a lesson to all those who are fighting for democracy to look deeper into people when they claim to have repented or turned from their ways. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and confirms some people’s fears regarding the sincerity of such characters.”
Democracy activist Stern Zvorwadza said Chipangano was the brain-child of “people with a sick mind” and Kunaka’s return to Zanu PF was a betrayal of those who had forgiven him when he was kicked out of the ruling party.
“If this repentance means they are sincere, then the people of Mbare would find peace as long as they stay clear of the same atrocities they committed under the name of Zanu PF. That Kunaka is going back home means he is joining a den of murderers and evil people. To us, he is a traitor,” he said.