Masvingo wrangle: not just a squabble but a fight for the survival of the Karanga


The detention had cowed them well enough to be manipulated against their colleagues whom they were led to believe were trying to keep the positions they had assumed while they were in detention.

Two years later, Karangas were once again the plotters. This resulted in the ousting of Rugare Gumbo, Crispen Mandizvidza, Joseph Taderera and Mukudzei Midzi from ZANU, paving the way for Herbert Ushewokunze and Nathan Shamuyarira.

1979 saw the death of Tongogara just a few months prior to independence but it also saw the propping up of those who had been built up by the Lancaster House conference which led to Zimbabwe’s independence. These included Eddison Zvobgo and others who came to Zimbabwe with highly inflated profiles.

But soon after the country attained independence Karangas were once again used to destroy each other with Zvobgo who was the party chief spokesman being the main target.

He had to be deflated and Nelson Mawema appears to have been the man tasked with this ominous task.

It almost worked. Zvobgo lost his powerful post and was reduced to provincial politics but he found his salvation there and built his political position which had been cut nationally to the point where he became an even greater threat.

Analysts say Karangas seem to have shied away from the leadership of ZANU all along because they have been portrayed as “power hungry” yet demographically they are a majority and this dictates that they aspire for leadership.

This is what they are now querying. They are asking why they no longer control ZANU-PF and why throughout the squabbles it has always been Karanga versus Karanga with the Tongogara group against the Machingura group in 1976, the Muzenda and Zvobgo group against the Gumbo group, Nelson Mawema group versus the Zvobgo group and now Josiah Hungwe, Stan Mudenge and Shuvai Mahofa’s group versus the Zvobgo group.

The same analysts say Zvobgo has been the main target because he is a threat to Muzenda’s leadership of the Karanga group. Though fro Gutu, Muzenda is politically classified as a Midlands person and even represents Gweru urban but he is the de facto leader of the Karangas both from Masvingo and the Midlands. But while he has tremendous influence Muzenda is now generally regarded as Mugabe’s man.

Zvobgo also seems to have been the target because he matches his political opponents both intellectually and politically, a thing he often brags about much to the disgust of his opponents. His work has, however, always been cut by his lack of influence in the media.

Analysts are also amazed at the way fellow Karangas have always enlisted and cooperated in the weeding out of their colleagues. All this has done is to weaken their political power base at the expense of other groups.

Continued next page


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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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