Tendai H. Manzvanzvike Foreign Editor
WHO does Jim Kunaka think he is fooling and for how long? For those who do not know who he is, Kunaka, was the leader of the infamous Chipangano, a gangster group based in Mbare that caused untold suffering to both the residents and members of the opposition.
As the Zanu-PF provincial youth chairperson, before he was removed in December 2013, Kunaka called the shots.
MDC-T deputy chairperson Mr Obert Gutu summed up how bad an apple in Zanu-PF’s basket Kunaka was.
Gutu told the weekly newspaper, the Financial Gazette of December 12, 2013: “Jim Kunaka was the face of political thuggery and intolerance in Harare Province. He was the face of the notorious terrorist group that calls itself Chipangano; a group of political malcontents and thugs who routinely brought misery to the residents of Mbare and the surrounding environs.”
Mr Gutu added, “The losing of Jim Kunaka in the recently held Zanu-PF provincial elections is cause for massive celebration. It should mark the demise of Chipangano and the related politics of violence that were fronted by the likes of Kunaka. Put simply, the losing of Jim Kunaka was an early Christmas present for the peace-loving people of Harare in general, and Mbare in particular.”
But Kunaka was not done yet. He was aligned to the G40 faction in Zanu-PF, then joined Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First. He was later to move to the New Patriotic Front, led by Brigadier-General (Retired) Ambrose Mutinhiri, but dumped him on the eve of the July 30 harmonised elections.
This is Jim Kunaka for you, who yesterday reduced the Motlanthe Commission to a charade. He paraded the thuggish behaviour that he and his colleagues took to an MDC-Alliance that also has violence in its DNA.
Kunaka’s farcical behaviour before a Commission whose mandate is to establish what happened on August 1, resulting in six deaths just showed that he has not changed.
He did not want to take responsibility for his actions, but chose to blame other people.
The outrageous behaviour before the Commissioners was testimony that he did not care that this was a Commission established by President Mnangagwa through Proclamation 6 of 2018 contained in Statutory Instrument 181 of 2018 of the Government Gazette.
The intermittent applause he got from the captive MDC-Alliance audience made him think that he could take lightly a matter that cost lives and threatened to disturb national peace and security.
While Kunaka thinks that he was the star of the moment during yesterday’s hearings, there is need for him to reflect on what Charity Maodza said on her Twitter handle @CharityMaodza: “Jim Kunaka is talking about his experiences in the Zanu-PF of the PAST. Chipangano & violence died when Kunaka & his G40 mandarins were ejected from Zanu-PF. Mbare is no longer a no-go area as it was during Jim & G40’s time in Zanu-PF. The new dispensation frowns at violence.”
Maodza is simply pointing out that the likes of Kunaka were the bad apples that threatened to destroy the whole basket.
She is also saying tongue in cheek that actions by Kunaka and the G40 cabal resulted in Operation Restore Legacy. The revolution had to be rescued and redirected for the good of the nation.
Today, people are realising that the opening up of spaces after Operation Restore Legacy was a reality, as they are enjoying the freedoms — freedom of speech and association included. The opposition would be the first people to attest that.
Charity Maodza’s intervention is also a reminder that were it not for the tragic August 1 incident, the atmosphere obtaining in Zimbabwe during the run-up to the harmonised election and the voting period was among the best, since Independence.
Added Charity Maodza: “Actually 1 August proved that all the elements who perpetrated violence like Jim Kunaka had joined the opposition. It’s not a coincidence that violence manifested in the political side where the likes of Jim Kunaka & Shadreck Mashayamombe belong.”
Mbare, she added, was now a liberated zone since the expulsion of Kunaka from Zanu-PF: “ . . . Mbare was liberated when Jim Kunaka was expelled from Zanu-PF. Jim is the father of violence. That is why he is being fingered in the 1 August tragedy.”
But questions remain: Did Kunaka have to reduce the Commission hearings to the theatrics that people witnessed yesterday? Is it desperation for him to be accepted by the MDC-Alliance?