Sten Zvorwadza was arrested and assaulted at Mbare police station where he had gone to report a case against Chipangano members who had disrupted him while installing paraffin tanks in the area in January.
The deputy president and spokesperson of the Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe, was instead incarcerated and charged with threatening to murder Clifford Mazarura and another activist, Clever Ntabende.
Senior members of Chipangano are always seen at Zvorwadza’s court appearances at the Mbare magistrates’ court, where they arrive driving top-of-the-range vehicles and clad in designer suits, yet they claim to represent a constituency of poor and disadvantaged people.
Chipangano is accused of unleashing terror, mainly in Mbare, and members of the group were not even afraid to show their intimidation tactics and rowdy behaviour during Zvorwadza’s several court appearances.
Mazarura, who is alleged to be a senior member of the group and one of the complainants against Zvorwadza, at one time blocked the human rights activist right by the gate of the police station. Police officers manning the gates stood by while Zvorwadza was being harassed for at least five minutes, as he was trying to drive to town.
The group comprises one menacing-looking character, who seems to be a bouncer for Chipangano. His role is construed to be that of protecting the seemingly unintimidating figure of Mazarura.
During one of the court appearances, Mazarura, donning a black suit, walked with a sense of invincibility surrounded by about 10 youths dressed in clothes typically befitting their role as the rabble rousers. One could not mistake the strong stench of beer and cigarette smoke.
Mazarura claimed he did not take orders from Zanu PF Harare youth chairman and the alleged leader of Chipangano, Jim Kunaka. Upon enquiry, this reporter was told that party structures of Zanu PF made Kunaka his junior. Mazarura claimed he wielded more power.
Reached for a comment, Kunaka denied leadership of Chipangano saying he did not know what the name meant. “Can you explain to me what Chipangano means because I don’t know what it means? And we as the youth use the party structures and no such thing as Chipangano exists in our party structures,” said Kunaka.
As for the case involving Zvorwadza, Kunaka said the human rights activist had a dispute with the residents, hence their interest in the matter.