via ‘I am not a Zanu PF hitman’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 31, 2015
THE name Fidelis Fengu (FF) has been linked to several Zanu PF dirty games including mysterious deaths of senior party politicians — among them retired army General Solomon Mujuru and ex-Mines minister Edward Chindori-Chininga.
Fengu has also been involved in the fight for recognition of the rights of people with disabilities and youths in general. NewsDay (ND) reporter Moses Matenga recently spoke to Fengu (FF) on his personal life, political career, business and the current state of the Zanu PF party, among other issues. Below are the excerpts:
ND: A lot has been said about you, but not much is known about your personal life. Who is Fidelis Fengu?
FF: Fidelis is a young simple gentleman. I studied in Malawi and attained a high level understanding and skill in media and society studies and then I also went to Romania where I did studies in public administration, that is me on the academic side. A second child in a family of four and I come from a place called Silobela in the Midlands region, home to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. I grew up in Gweru and later went to Bulawayo before relocating to Malawi and then back to Zimbabwe in 2010.
ND: How exactly are you linked to Zanu PF?
FF: The way I joined Zanu PF is a story on its own. I joined the party when I was still 14 years of age. At that time I could not have a party card. I had a debate with other leaders then and later they agreed to get me a party card. I was introduced into politics by the late Cde Eddison Zvobgo when I was still a student at Allan Wilson High School. He saw some political potential in me and handed me over to Harare province around 1997/8 where I had the opportunity to interact with senior guys in the army and I had exposure to powerful men in politics. After that I moved to Bulawayo and was once elected into the district co-ordinating committee [youth affairs] and it was before the disbandment of the DCCs. I was later appointed deputy chairperson of the national youth advisory board that advised Cde Saviour Kasukuwere [then Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment] and the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
I was appointed special interest councillor in Bulawayo representing persons with disabilities. Recently, I was part on the organising committee in the Office of the President and Cabinet under the disability desk in Retired Brigadier Felix Muchemwa’s Office and organised the national disability expo.
ND: Zanu PF is now fragmented according to observers, all is not well in your party. What’s your assessment of the state of the party currently?
FF: Currently, I would say Zanu PF is not at its best; Zanu PF can be better than what it is at the moment. There is quite a lot of rumour mongering that’s going on; people are tending to major on the minors, people are majoring on issues like succession, like you would find people my age talking about succession, you are not even 45, you don’t qualify to be President or to run for Presidency and yet you are talking about succession. There are things we should be talking about like the economy, job creation, adding value and operationalising ZimAsset. For me that is important, instead of focusing on things that have nothing to do with us. Succession is for the elders and when our turn comes, we will debate it.
ND: How best then do you think the succession issue can be tackled if people are not allowed to discuss it freely seeing that it is one issue that has divided the party?
FF: I think the President Robert Mugabe, when the time comes should sit down with his fellow Politburo members, create a framework that will be taken to the Central Committee and that framework will be agreed on so that number one, everyone can have an open discussion on succession because the more secretive or the more the discussion or debate is hindered, the more problems it creates.
ND: So if youths can’t participate freely in discussing succession as you have said, what is their role in the matter as it is about their future as well?
FF: Zimbabwe was liberated by youths, people like [Oppah] Muchinguri went to war when she was only nine, people like [VP Emmerson] Mnangagwa went to war when they were teenagers, I think the youths should bring direction to the party now and have a vision to build the economy, let’s unite and stick to the values of unity, peace and development. We will have a better Zanu PF than we have at the moment.
ND: Your name has been dragged into the death of former army general Solomon Mujuru and your alleged involvement in the death of [former Mines minister] Edward Chindori-Chininga. Are you a Zanu PF hit man?
FF: People do not understand me for various reasons like I mentioned that when I was young, I would interact with the likes of Lieutenant General Amoth Chimombe, the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe and many others. I grew up under these people, discussing issues, learning a few things from them, ideology and a lot more. Because of that, people tend to associate me with military issues and at one time, somebody was suggesting that I join the Central Intelligence Organisation, but I refused because that’s not the path I wanted to take with my life. Yes, things have been said, a lot of them very nasty, people associating me with the death of Mujuru, Chindori-Chininga, but it came as a surprise to me because at the time of Mujuru’s death, I was not in the country, I had a good three months in Ukraine and I was nowhere near anything to do with his death. Unfortunately with Chindori-Chininga, yes, I was in the country and I had disagreed with him on the way the Mines Parliamentary Portfolio Committee he led was handling its reports. So because I tend to engage with politicians at whatever level, when I think you are wrong, I said Chef, I think you can do this and so do this and so, because we had disagreed, people then think I was behind it [his mysterious fatal accident], but I was not behind anything.
ND: How have close friends, family and others reacted to your being labelled a criminal and how has that affected your business interests or even your own personal security?
FF: They know my personality and whether or not I am capable of that. They know me better than the media. As an individual, it has affected my business, it has affected my relationships. I could not marry because of that, the in-laws-to-be would say such a son-in-law would give us problems. It’s politics, once you assume public, you have to understand the challenges associated with it. Someone once said if you pray for the rain, you have to remember that it comes with the mud and this is some of the mud that I have found myself in.