Inside Chamisa’s backyard

AS a little boy in the rural Chiwara area of Gutu, south of Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa probably never dreamt of leading a major political party, the MDC-T, let alone be among the favourites to win the country’s presidency.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA/ TAPIWA ZIVIRA

Awe-inspiring could be the only phrase that can describe Chamisa’s rise from being a little boy in swampy Chiwara village, perhaps looking for a stray cow or goat, to becoming a national political figure.

While seemingly improbable, his journey could have been made easier by his effortless charm and charisma.

While the bright lights of Harare and the popularity could have changed him, Chamisa seems to always look back to his roots, which somehow acts like a compass which directs his endeavours.

Surrounded by scattered settlements, his rural homestead, which boasts of two rondavels and three cottages of different sizes, all painted in pink, stands out from the rest of the community.

Upon visiting the homestead, NewsDay was immediately drawn to the massive livestock-rearing projects – from a large cattle pen and a goat shed to dozens of chickens roaming the yard.

Visible from many angles kilometres away, the homestead oozes affluence that is not common in rural areas – boasting a fitted water tank that provides running water, electricity, and well-kempt vegetation.

For the rural folk from within the area, and even beyond Mungezi River, which is situated about three kilometres away and separates Gutu South and Masvingo North; this is the home of the country’s aspiring president.

Coincidentally, while the Chamisa homestead is on one side of Mungezi, his main rival in the coming presidential elections, Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly has a farm on the other side of the river.

As a result, the local folk here believe they are spoilt for choice.


“I am still to decide who to vote for in the (July 30) elections because, as you can see, we have two presidential candidates from this area.

“Mnangagwa is this side and Chamisa is that side,” one elderly woman said sweepingly.

Mnangagwa is from Midlands, but has endeared himself to the locals, who treat him as one of their own from Masvingo North.

Even Chamisa’s father, while chatting with NewsDay, referred to the other side of the river as “kwaMunangarwa”, in reference to the President’s farm.

A simple peasant who drives a Mazda pick-up truck, and appears content with his daily routine of farm work, Chamisa Senior also exudes charisma, showing Nelson is a chip off the block.

When NewsDay arrived, Chamisa Senior had just travelled from Nyika growth point, several kilometres away and was delivering goods to fellow villagers’ doorsteps.

Soft-spoken and kind, he offered to drive NewsDay across the swampy plains to where the crew had left its low-clearance vehicle, but as fate would have it, Chamisa Senior’s car ended up stuck in the mud in his bid to give a helping hand.

Maybe, Chamisa’s dream of “spaghetti roads” is borne out of his frustration with the road network in his own backyard.

The area is connected by dusty roads, pathways and driving through these is a nightmarish experience.

This is a microcosm of how bad roads are in the country, where underdevelopment, poor infrastructure and lack of service delivery are the norm.

While there is general freedom in political campaigns across the country, the ghost of past elections haunts villagers in Gutu South, with a worker at Chamisa’s homestead appearing nerved by NewsDay’s visit, and he made his fears known.

“Some strange people are visiting us. Recently, two men came here and left without saying anything.

“I then saw them writing something in their notebooks as soon as they left the yard,” he said.

“Knowing that Chamisa is a serious contender to the presidency, and that this is where his home is, there are bound to be security issues that need to be taken care of.”

Whatever happens on July 30, the people of this area seem destined to give the country the next President and many are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that their son, whom they birthed and nursed, could land the highest office in the land.

15 Comments

  1. Zim - Resident

    Unbiased reporting. If you can do this to the other aspiring candidates so that we get an understanding of how they live or how they are regarded as in their places of origin. Thank you Newsday.

  2. good insite to educate voters on background of one the candidate who is destined to lose end of the month elections but you erred when you touched on spaghetti roads as even nelson himself knows that it was a blue lie to hoodwink the electorate

  3. Kokerai Chisvo

    Its a good piece and its very important to noe how a fellow Zimbabwean who wants to attain e high office kuti akamira sei…. its also a good thing V.P Mohadi encouraged media houses to cover all political parties equally so inoteera ndeyaNgwena.

    N.B Cant wait to read on Mnangagwa Shumba yapaMapanzure

  4. I like the idea of this article but you missed a great opportunity to highlight some interesting facts like how Nelson was when growing up, his habits, his favourite food and his main inspiration. Could have also asked the father to give an insight on how they raised the young Nelson to where he is today.

  5. banda politics

    nice insight on the life of our new president…its quite inspiring….chisa mbama chisa

  6. l hope these 2 reporters are based in Masvingo and are junior reporters. Shuwa shuwa can this report be regarded as value -adding? I was hoping for a more insightful article but this article lacks a theme or objective. It felt like reading an essay written by a form 1 pupil about a trip to NC’s homestead. Please please tipeiwo ma serious. This is shallow

    1. but much better than Herald lies

  7. l hope these 2 reporters are based in Masvingo and are junior reporters. Shuwa shuwa can this report be regarded as value -adding? I was hoping for a more insightful article but this article lacks a theme or objective. It felt like reading an essay written by a form 1 pupil about a trip to NC’s homestead. Please please tipeiwo ma serious. This is shallow, totally unacceptable at this level of reporting/journalism.

    1. Not so sure what you were expecting Tongai , in my book this was an excellent piece , what is missing is the negativity that usually espouses every story written about the man , maybe thats the shallowness you have identified , for the narrative to be deep something bad has to be mentioned .For the level of journalism you expect – “not the shallow one” by your standards try The Chronicle and The Herald , you will surely enjoy the deep “acceptable journalism.

  8. Chamisa born in the Reserves!! That is a problem for Zimbabwe. What you need you people is someone born in the Salisbury, in either Harare township which you now call Mbare or from Highfields not from the Reserves in Fort Victoria.
    Those from Reserves bring their dirty habits into the towns and are not as streetwise as those born in Harare township (Mbare) or Highfields.
    The reason why Zimbabwe has gone nowhere fast is because it was led by a man born in the Reserves of Kutama Mission, Mugabe.

  9. Elisha uri diro iwe chairo nekuti majairira kusabudirira kwezimbabwe nekuda kwezanu pf yenyu isingadi kuti vanhu vazive zvakanaka zviri kuitika kune dzimwe nyika. Chiiko chiri kutadzisa kuti zimbabwe iwewo namaSpaghetti train ari kuwanikwa muSouth Afrca,Tanzania uri kuvaita? Why zanus muchifarira kubudirira kwenyu ngemikonyo yenyu izere Diyabhurosi? Pasi nemi.

  10. kid marongorongo

    talking of spaghetti roads and bullet trains is a mockery even to the people where he hailed from. its a disgrace for this young man to talk about this shit when the villages are in that state. he should talk about realistic development not cheap politics like that. Come 30 July we are going to give him a rude awakening

  11. GO CHAMISA GO

  12. If you would go to the rural areas of those who are crutical of Chamisas you will be surprised. You will find a few round huts with worn out thatch. They dont even dream of going back there because they are a disgrace.
    What they are getting from Zanu is just a hand to mouth kind of life. They dont want progressive development. How will you look at yourself and brag to be Zimbabwean and be pround of what you are doing as a ruling party in Francistown?
    I have been to Francistown on early 2007. I then lived in Gaborone for 2008, for 14 months. Now francistown is like a little London.
    If you want to know how good other countries are doing, drive to Joburg or to Mafikeng through Botswana. I didn’t say use a bus cz you will sleep along the way.
    To make matters worse fly to Kenya or Tanzania, you will see vast land covered by runways and airport exchange bays and route gates. You will be so ashamed.

    Leave Chamisa dream big. At least he is not dreaming alone, we are dreaming with him and im sure its not only me bt millions of Zimbabweans including your former president Mugabe.

    Chisa mbama Chisa

  13. Your Name (required):Special Black

    Mukanzi uyai mipihwe mafarms, maplots, kuchera gold nemamwe maprojects munoti ndezve ZANU PF,saka moda kuti tikuberekei? itavo zvirikuita vamwe kwete kudzira kutuka. hazviunzi kudya izvozvo. we have listening leader cde ED. Bullet train inoda railway line iri protected nokuti chese chapinda murail line chino tsikwa uye zvinoda close to 50b or more munoiwana kupi? be serious, serious ….

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