Politics

‘Don’t panic’ – Chinamasa speaks after surviving road accident

ZANU-PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa is in a stable condition and recovering well at a private hospital in Harare after he was involved in an accident on Saturday night.

He was involved in a road traffic accident in Rusape after ramming into a truck that was carrying scrap metal.

Chinamasa told State-owned Herald newspaper that he is feeling much better and the nation must not panic.

“The doctor is monitoring my situation to see if I do not have some internal injuries. I am fit and ready to go.

“I am only waiting for the doctor to monitor my chest otherwise I might be discharged anytime from now. I am urging the people not to panic and I’m well and safe,”.

Chinamasa said he escaped death by a whisker and was saved by the vehicle’s airbags.

“I was saved by the airbags, otherwise we will be talking about something else,” said Chinamasa.

Car accidents are viewed with suspicion in Zimbabwe, with a long list of Government Ministers, Zanu-PF officials and even opposition leaders having died in car accidents.

Chinamasa was appointed to the political commissar post by the Zanu-PF Politburo to take over from Victor Matemadanda, who will be posted to Mozambique as a Government diplomat. Former Zanu-PF top officials who died in car accidents after independence in 1980 include the following:

  • Chris Ushewokunze, a former ministry of industry and commerce, died at the age of 49 after a mysterious car accident at Suri Suri, about 110km from Bulawayo, on the road to Harare, in 1994. He had differed with then President Robert Mugabe on economic policy.

  • Zororo Duri was rising rapidly through Zanu-PF ranks as one of the young technocrats seen as poised to take over the party in the mid-1990s. Party bosses had told him not to contest the chair of Manicaland province against Kumbirai Kangai, but he went ahead and won. Appointed ambassador to Cuba, he was killed in a car accident on the Mutare-Harare road in 1996.

  • Moven Mahachi was minister of defence at the time of his death in a car accident in 2001 on the Mutare-Nyanga road after attending a Zanu-PF Manicaland meeting as national political commissar. In 2009 Enos Nkala, one of Zanu’s founders, claimed that Mahachi was eliminated because of his robust opposition to Zanu-PF’s looting of diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Paul Armstrong Gunda, a brigadier general and hero of the liberation war, died after his car allegedly collided with a train on the Harare-Marondera road in 2007.

  • Eliot Manyika, former youth minister, died in a road accident on the Zvishavane-Mbalabala road in 2008. In his capacity as national commissar he was travelling from Mutare to Gwanda on a Zanu-PF restructuring mission that could have upset the leadership ambitions of some top party officials.
    Manyika’s family asked police to investigate, claiming that his injuries were inconsistent with a road accident. A close relative also claimed that he had received anonymous death threats. A tyre from his official Mercedes-Benz was sent to South Africa for forensic analysis, but the inquest found his death was consistent with a traffic accident.

  • Border Gezi was killed when his car careered out of control after it had a blow-out on the Harare-Masvingo road. Gezi was travelling to Masvingo to address party supporters and reshuffle the political leadership in the province. Some theorists hold that he had decided to speak out against the seizure of white-owned farms. It is also believed that the Zanu-PF old guard was unhappy with his meteoric rise through the party’s ranks. ■

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