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Chipangano a business outfit hiding behind Zanu PF
Precious Shumba
October 31, 2011

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So much has been written about the Chipangano (agreement) shadowy group, notorious for its crude reaction to opposition to Zanu PF. However, there has been a clear distinction in the manner the private and the state-controlled media has covered similar events where this outfit is involved. While there have been attempts to make the Chipangano grouping a formal Zanu PF outfit, the leadership has always disowned them, instead claiming this group belonged to the MDC. That is untrue and those in Zanu PF know this.

In this installment I will explore the origins and motives of this grouping, made of young women and men, mostly drawn from Mbare-s different hostels and Jo-burg Lines. It will be an injustice if I end without highlighting some of their major actions and actors, their backgrounds and linkages within the unfolding Zanu PF succession battle. An in-depth analysis of these will follow. I will prove that this group is merely there to protect business interests of various leaders within Zanu PF, who also use the outfit to intimidate and silence critics and opponents. I will lastly attempt to suggest solutions to ending the reign of terror by this outfit.

Mbare residents live in fear. They are constantly harassed and threatened with beatings. And they are consistently forced to attend meetings, with unclear agendas, convened outside bars, markets, in corridors, and pambureni (where firewood is sold), and in open spaces, even at service stations. Mostly, there is no notice of the meetings but rowdy young men and women move into your neighbourhood and coerce everyone to attend meetings.

How do you locate the security apparatus in all this? In terms of Section 25 (1) (b) of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17), a convener of a meeting should give a notice of the intention to hold a meeting, in writing signed by him or her to the regulating authority for the district in which the public meeting is to be held.

The Act further states in Section 25 (5) that "Any person who knowingly fails to give notice of a gathering in terms of this section, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment."

Taken literally, the above paragraph means that anyone who convenes a meeting without notifying the police shall be arrested. That is not the practice the nation has witnessed in relation to Chipangano. This outfit has been exempt from these legal requirements and the Police have a lot to explain on this.

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