Eric Chiriga 2 July 2017
HARARE – Former vice president and National People’s Party leader, Joice
Mujuru, has spoken out for the first time on her links with the late
musician, Dick “Cde Chinx” Chingaira, confirming to the Daily News on
Sunday this week that indeed they shared a solid bond that could have cost
the liberation war stalwart national hero status.
Following his death about a fortnight ago after a long battle with cancer,
Cde Chinx – a key player in the guerrilla war against British colonialists
and a staunch Zanu PF supporter – was snubbed by his yester-year
comrades-in-arms from being interred at the National Heroes Acre, to the
disappointment of many.
He was declared a liberation war hero, and was to be buried at the Harare
Provincial Heroes Acre, a recognition turned down by his disappointed
family, which laid him to rest at a private cemetery on the outskirts of
the capital city.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Mujuru revealed
she had a cordial relationship with the Munhu Wese wemuAfrica hit-maker,
whom she said was his son-in-law, and she did not see anything wrong in
helping or associating with him.
While she declined to disclose how Cde Chinx, whose other surname is
Makoni – being a descendant of the Makoni dynasty in Manicaland – became
her son-in-law, we can reveal that Mujuru’s eldest daughter, Chipo,
married into the Makoni family. In fact, she is married to the son of
former Finance minister Simba Makoni, who is a cousin of Cde Chinx.
“First of all, I had not seen Chinx for over three years, but before that
we were in touch. When I was still in government, I was approached by
(Joseph) Nyadzayo, the photographer in the President’s Office, pleading
that he had this project which he wanted to fulfil through the Zimbabwe
Music Association (Zima),” Mujuru told the Daily News on Sunday.
“It really touched me as a mother, because I saw Chinx’s house being
destroyed by government (during operation Murambatsvina). So I committed
to helping him in a small way. Is that a sin? For your own information,
Chinx is my son-in-law, and even Nyadzayo did not know it. He will hear it
from you,” Mujuru said.
Nyadzayo chairs Zima. He revealed in May, during the handover of a house
in Harare’s medium density suburb of Mabelreign donated to Cde Chinx that
the former vice president, who was dismissed by Mugabe from Zanu PF and
government, donated the bricks that were used to build the property.
Nonetheless, many had tipped Cde Chinx to join other liberation war icons
laid to rest at the national shrine on account of his unique contribution
to the armed struggle that brought Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980.
The war veterans had joined the bush war at a tender age and, as much as
he was a fighter, his love for music made him a full-time organiser of
Zanla’s choir, which acted as a morale booster for the fighting cadres
when Mhere Yarira, who had previously led the group, was transferred to
Cde Chinx had continued to release songs in support of Zanu PF after
independence, including composing controversial songs backing the chaotic
But following his demise on June 16, at the age of 61, Zanu PF dithered
for six days, while trying to find common ground on his hero status. It
became such a divisive issue that even after a decision was made to entomb
his remains at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre, no one in the governing
party wanted to convey the message to his family, which had waited for
days for direction.
In the end, the difficult task of delivering the devastating blow to the
Chingaira family was assigned to War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube and
two other officials.
The family appealed against the decision, through Dube, who took up the
supplication with Ignatius Chombo, the party’s secretary for
administration, for discussion with Mugabe. The appeal failed to find
favour with the ruling party, which insisted that he be buried at the
provincial heroes acre.
The dejected family subsequently decided to bury him at Glen Forest
This paper had revealed last week that Cde Chinx could not be declared a
national hero because he had rubbed the authorities the wrong way on so
many occasions, hence the absence of Mugabe and his deputies – Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko – at his funeral.
Cabinet ministers also snubbed his burial.
In October 2014, Cde Chinx was among guests who attended a party hosted by
Mujuru in Dotito, Mount Darwin to celebrate her PhD, before she was
savaged from Zanu PF two months later.
The late Cde Chinx even sang a song at the gathering where he exalted
Mujuru with lyrics: “Mai Mujuru vakanganisa here, haiwa havana kukanganisa
(Did Mujuru err? No, she didn’t err”, and joined the police band to play
the song in full.
Cde Chinx also became a marked man for not condemning Makoni, the former
Finance minister, when he challenged Mugabe for the presidency in 2008
after breaking ranks with the Zanu PF leader.
Mugabe has previously made sensational claims that Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC
party and Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) party were birthed at
MKD was formed in 2008, while MDC has been in existence since 1999.
Those opposed to Cde Chinx’s interment at the national shrine could not
raise the real reasons behind their refusal, conveniently arguing that the
party had set precedence when it denied another former musician and Zipra
cadre, Give Nare, the same status when he died after independence.
Nare and his choir’s recordings were destroyed by security agents in the
early 1980s while their music was banned on ZBC for fear of inciting PF
Zapu supporters as the country went through one of its darkest periods.
This week, Mujuru said it was Zanu PF’s culture to ditch those who do not
fit their hero definition, adding that it was not only Cde Chinx who had
“As human beings, we forget quickly. It is not just Chinx who was ignored.
We have Anderson Mhuru, a member of the High Command, who is buried in
Chinhoyi. We have Sheba Tavagwisa, a female member of the High Command who
is buried in Gutu. We have Mhaka, and many others (who were ignored),” she
“As war veterans, we have been used and now they have dumped us. Who in
the current politburo is qualified to talk about war veterans? This hero
status thing is about who knows you. Who knows Chinx in that politburo?
Only maybe (Sydney) Sekeramayi and Mnangagwa,” Mujuru said.
Interestingly, Mujuru also told the Daily News on Sunday that she misses
her friends that she had while in Zanu PF, adding she and others who
looked up to her for leadership, were hurt by the sacking.
“The way it was handled was wrong. He should have just called me and asked
me to retire after having served 10 years as his deputy. I would have
listened to him because of who I am. I am feeling sorry for those in Zanu
“Mnangagwa celebrated (my dismissal) because it benefited him but how does
he feel now that he is being mistreated just as I was being ill-treated?
Why are they punishing this gentleman? Why do you have to drag him into
all this mess? If Mugabe does not want Mnangagwa, why doesn’t he just fire
him? He has suffered a lot and we should not celebrate when we see a
fellow human being suffering because we are all humans,” she said.