MUTARE-Minister of state for provincial affairs in Manicaland, Mandiitawepi Chimene, has warned tertiary education minister Oppah Muchinguri not to undermine her ability, saying she also has enough “arsenal” to fight her back.
Addressing a press conference at her offices Thursday, Chimene lashed out at Muchinguri describing her as an “alien” in the province.
She was responding to a recent audio which was leaked to the social media in which Muchinguri and other party members aligned to her were demonising and plotting to oust her from the party.
Muchinguri and her allies have since signed a petition passing a vote of no confidence against the provincial chairman and Energy minister Samuel Undenge and his wife Letina.
“If you decide to be a warlord then it means you are ready to fight. Not fighting back does not mean I am a coward. I could have fought her long back but I realised that I could not fight one of my own.
“She is fighting herself. I fought the liberation struggle because it was a just war. If it means fighting wars I would be fighting factionalism in the party.
“Muchinguri addresses meetings insulting me but I will never fight a colleague. From my childhood I never wanted to fight. I have my pride that people should discover me. I don’t want people to read me easily like a grade one textbook. I am a peace loving creature,” said Chimene.
Chimene said her differences with Muchinguri back date to 1999 when she wanted to contest for a Central Committee position and she (Muchinguri) blocked her.
“There is nothing new about our differences with Muchinguri. It all back dates to 1999 when she blocked my attempts to be in the Central Committee. She took it to the politburo and tarnished my image.
But I was given an opportunity to explain my position and but later I managed to be in the Central Committee after explaining my position to the seniors,” said Chimene.
She said her ambitions to be a legislator for Mutasa North were derailed in 2000 after Muchinguri threw some spanners into her works and the seat was later won by the MDC.
“She threw some spanners because I was not her favourite. So, events kept on happening behind the scenes,” said Chimene, adding but “I remained mum”.
Chimene said she contested in Makoni during the 2013 harmonised elections not because of her choice but she was pushed out by Muchinguri.
“I went to Makoni because I was pushed there by Muchinguri. She thought I would lose the election but that was not the case,” she said.
Chimene also revealed that Muchinguri was not originally from Manicaland but from Zimuto in Masvingo province.
“I am better off because I am from Manicaland. Muchinguri is from Zimuto in Masvingo,” she said.
She said Muchinguri has been spreading gossip about her life in a bid to tarnish her image.
“She has been saying a lot about my life but I am not moved about it. She said I was young during the war but to be honest I was an active cadre. I suffered during the struggle and today I am still serving. I went through what every cadre went through in the war,” she said.
Chimene said she was annoyed by Muchinguri`s utterances that she smokes marijuana.
“I was annoyed by Muchinguri’s utterances that I do smoke dagga. This did not go down well with me. I know a lot about her and I need a lot of discs to document her profile. She must not under estimate me; I don’t like it,” she said.
Chimene said she was not in the government neither by a quota system nor gender representation but because she was voted for by the electorate.
“Senior as she is she must know the meaning of being elected by the people. She told me a lot about President Robert Mugabe.
She said she has a crocodile smile and we don’t know how far that smile goes. Even the smile she gives to President Mugabe we don’t even know probably it’s a crocodile smile,” said Chimene.
Chimene said she never had ambitions to become a minister of State before because she was content with the duties she was assigned to do by the party.
“I am not ambitious, I never wanted to be minister of State but I was chosen by President Mugabe after he saw my abilities and if Muchinguri wants to carry out all the entire roles in government he should just tell President Mugabe,” she said.
Chimene said at one time Muchinguri ordered police to arrest her after she attended a funeral of one party cadre identified as Mapenzauswa who was run over with a car by a local commercial farmer.
“Muchinguri ordered police to arrest me alleging that I was part of the group that looted Benznot property. Actually I had to miss the burial of Mapenzauswa because I was being tossed around on flimsy charges,” said Chimene.-Newzim