Chinomona’s turbulent political career

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SPOTTING her trademark hairstyle, often referred to as Dino in street lingo, Mabel Chinomona (pictured) was not anticipating a bad day after all.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

Maybe she wanted the provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting held at Zanu PF provincial offices in Marondera to be over, so that she would attend to other needs on that fateful Saturday in February 2016.

As the national women’s league political commissar, Chinomona, bubbling with confidence, sat at the high table, facing the executive members, not even aware that the very same people before her had other things on their minds.

It did not take long for the Deputy Speaker of Parliament to have her day spoiled.

The then interim acting provincial chairman, Bernard Makokove, was leading the proceedings.

“Amai Chinomona, you are the political commissar in the women’s league, you could have led by example. Amai (Aplonia) Munzverengi called people barring them from going to Harare, but you did not mobilise people to go and meet the President in Harare,” oozing with confidence, Makokove said.

Although the verdict had not been passed yet, Chinomona sensed danger. She interjected: “I gave instructions to Munzverengi . . .”

But before she could finish her line, Makokove, who was in a no-nonsense mood, cut her off, refusing to entertain any explanations.

For at that moment, she was supposed to listen to the allegations levelled against her, and perhaps the following and final statement.

The next utterance was, indeed, a thorn in the flesh to Chinomona and the other victims.

A stone-faced Makokove turned to the gallery: “What can be done to these people? You have heard the allegations.”

Like a well-choreographed move, provincial member Everisto Pfumvuti raised his hand. He was given the floor to air his views.

“I suggest that these people be suspended and a board of inquiry should be set to investigate them,” Pfumvuti said.

Chinomona dropped her face. By now, she was aware of the outcome, that she was being stripped off her powers and was probably on her way to the political dungeon.

She was being reduced to a party cell member despite her political influence at both provincial and national level.

“We have heard what Comrade Pfumvuti has suggested. Anyone seconding?” Makokove asked.

Richard Mavhunga, who was the party’s provincial deputy secretary for the indigenisation and empowerment portfolio, seconded the motion and that was it.
Chinomona was suspended.

The Mutoko North legislator looked dejected. She tried to explain to anyone who cared to listen on how she had handled the issue, but her explanation fell on deaf ears. She faced massive resistance.

“I have been suspended? What have I done? I called Munzverengi and told her that we have been allocated five buses, and even consulted the secretary for transport Mai Matutu to arrange pick-up points. Was I supposed to go and say get in the bus? I did my part and gave instructions to others,” she tried to explain to them.

The explanation begged for mercy and leniency, but the response she got after that was rude.

“We cannot reverse a vote of no confidence. As acting chairperson, I cannot do that. You will defend yourself before a disciplinary committee, or you can appeal against the suspension,” Makokove said before chanting the party slogan.

To save her, Chinomona needed the support of politburo member and provincial godfather Sydney Sekeramayi, who was part of the people in the gallery.

The soft-spoken Sekeramayi, who was tasked to give a vote of thanks, was frank in his speech.

Sekeramayi said the party would deal with the outcome of the disciplinary committee and urged those suspended to appeal if they wished to.

That was then.

Chinomona was accused of sabotaging former President Robert Mugabe’s rally at Zanu PF headquarters early last year.

She was reportedly persecuted for being aligned to then Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction known as Team Lacoste.

In 2004, she was allegedly part of a controversial meeting held at Dinyane Secondary School in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, popularly known as the Tsholotsho Declaration, which was allegedly convened to campaign for Mnangagwa’s elevation.

She went into political wilderness for five years, but made a dramatic comeback and clinched the central committee post before becoming the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

After the February 2016 vote of no-confidence, Chinomona continued carrying her party duties, but this time as a women’s league political commissar.

It seemed she knew her fate, and this was shown by how she gyrated and broke into song each time then First Lady Grace Mugabe would rise to address the people.

It took long for her to return to the political wilderness again, a politburo meeting ended it all.

She was relieved off her duties in the women’s league and reduced to a card-carrying member, again.

Like a cat with nine lives, the outspoken politician has found another life again.

The demise of Grace came as a blessing to her. She rose from the dust and was very much active in Operation Restore Legacy, as she mobilised support for the November 18 solidarity march.

It worked and a new political dispensation came.

Chinomona was honoured as she took over the position of her tormentor, Grace.

Today, she is the Zanu PF women league’s boss and automatically, a member of the politburo.

But it took humiliation and torture for her to become determined and she trod on in a political field marred with conspiracy and disorder.

Her chief accusers’ names, Makokove and Grace, are fast-disappearing on the political arena.

Her co-accused Munzverengi is now the political commissar for the women’s league, while Joel Matiza retained the post as provincial chairman.

“I held the provincial women’s league post for 15 years. I know this province from corner to corner. But there is someone who came and just expelled me, how do you see it? Someone saying we cannot work with this person, but Zanu PF is good. After being a member for a long time, here we are.

“After all has been done, I pray to God to give us the power to forget for us to move forward,” Chinomona said while addressing scores who had attended a party for her meant to celebrate her elevation to the women league’s boss post in Marondera.