In the grip of Chiyangwa . . . Flamboyant Phil promises to bury his footie opponents

Robert Mukondiwa
There are ten bottles of water in the fridge. He sits behind his desk animated. Turning a shade of apricot. Or perhaps peach as he rants at the person at the other end of the phone.

The call lasts a bit. Quite a bit.

He eventually ends the call. Sighs and says; “Family issues!”

Then he gets into the current zone. Cooling down as if nothing would ever harm him. As if he were calm all along. In fact he is now as calm as the other side of a pillow.

This is Philip Chiyangwa. A man they say was so scared to be beaten in the forthcoming Zifa leadership election that he schemed to ensure that he is uncontested but eventually found himself charged at, by most especially Felton Kamambo.

This is not that frivolous looking childlike jester on social media who dances to trending tracks deliberately playing the fool. This is the python awaiting its prey. Something I have previously written about the man, but that I will get back to later on.

“You are running scared,” I charge at him. “You have fear in your eyes,” I repeat the claim from the outside.

And all of a sudden he is jolted again like that man on the phone. Except this time it is not family matters.

“Why would I be afraid of him (presumably Kamambo) what has he achieved in life other than being a depot manager for GMB (the Grain Marketing Board)? He has been in football for over 30 years and I for two but what has he done for football that I should be afraid of him?” asks the man they call PC in the beautiful game of football.

Dressed in a slick rayon and cellophane shirt with nuances of dull ivory, excitable amethyst and gold-ish yellow, he is hardly the flamboyant being social media is used to. In fact he is looking remarkably like an executioner waiting for his subject so that he can capture and annihilate his next foe.

After all, pasted on the walls of his office and boardroom, amidst the flamboyant pictures of a younger Philip and Michael Jackson are those of him and Issa Hayatou. His nemesis he helped dispose of in CAF elections.

The latter man looking dejected probably resigned to the fact that he was posing for a picture with the executioner who was set to put paid to his long reign over African football.

He has the scalp of Issa Hayatou somewhere in the drawers of his shiny teak desk one would think. And in the same drawer is space for the scalp of Felton Kamambo. A scalp he will presumably claim very soon come next weekend.

Yet this Chiyangwa is hardly pompous today. In fact he sounds pretty modest. Of course with a touch of pomposity.

“What should happen should you lose the election Philip?”

“In the highly unlikely. Very, very unlikely instance I look at what we have achieved with my team. My achievements are not my own. I have had a team that has worked very hard to make sure we got to the top again.”

“Our women’s team was at one time number two in the region. They made us proud at the Olympics. We have been fulfilling our obligations to play internationally. Our men’s team has been doing extremely well with two Cosafa titles under my watch. The squabbling has become minimal and people are concentrating on football rather than squabbles. Those squabbles by the way were man-made.”

“I have worked on opening the door to the UK and international kids. Previously I was told when I met parents of Zimbabwean footballers playing in England, they said former administrators used to say if you want your child to play in the national team in Zimbabwe put £50 00 in this account, a personal account, and they will be called to camp.

‘‘I told them I will pay your kids and for their tickets to national duty and house them in the hotel and not have them pay bribes as (named guys) used to do!” he says.

“Those are my achievements. Not these guys who are in fact looking for stipends rather than running football efficiently!”

And his foe? Perhaps his foe can change things around, I suggest.

“How? He has been around for long. What has he done for football? You should not make noise.

‘‘You should be a person of means. A person of action who other people praise not to praise yourself. Kungowawata. Apa hauna cash!” he says.

He has come into his own. That epic phrase, you have no cash, escaping from its home and finding its way into the conversation.

“I could never have done all that I achieved without the help and hard work of Omega Sibanda and Philemon Machana. Hard working people they are.

‘‘ No one achieves things alone. I achieved because of them. We were a team. We are a team. And we have Chamu Chiwanza working hard to get into football governance and we are with him in this coming election. It is because working successfully calls for a team,” he adds.

And back to that tale.

Philip Chiyangwa loves to project himself as a moron. A jester. A frivolous playful eccentric without strategy.

And like the epic python, as you watch those frivolous antics on social media, burning crucial data bundles; Philip Chiyangwa, the real Philip Chiyangwa. Like a python slides and slithers close to you as you observe the colourful being he presents.

And before you can remember your father’s last name, he has you in a sleeper-hold. Game over. When you can’t breathe, you can’t scream!

“I am not talking much ahead of this election. I am just going to show by way of winning that election resoundingly.

‘‘Those that gave them money to oppose me know me. They knew those guys would lose to me but just wanted to make sure they also put up a good fight.”

Chiyangwa is in fact scared. Scared that he will beat the opposition so bad that even his rivals will end up voting for him in the contest. That is his fear apparently!

He is scared he will leave his opponent bleeding profusely. That is why Philip Chiyangwa is afraid of this election, at least that is what he and his nerves say!

And now, his opponent cannot back down anymore. The stage is set for the election. And Philip believes he is intimidating his competition.

After all running away from Philip Chiyangwa is like jumping into an ocean to escape the rain, you can never get away from him. Especially when he starts talking. And soon, he will start talking.

There are ten bottles of water in the fridge.

He will need them to quench his thirst when he scorches his opponents in a baptism of fire next weekend and gets another mandate. Or he may need it to cool himself down if he loses.

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