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Celebrated author accuses Zanu-PF MP of brainwashing school kids

AWARD-WINNING Zimbabwean author and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga, has accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of deliberate and sustained brainwashing of rural school children.

Dangarembga said this on Twitter after a photo imaged showing a Bindura school Grade 2 pupil’s book covered with and image of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and branded in the name of businessman and Bindura North legislator Kenneth Shupikai Musanhi (Zanu-PF).

“Everything is captured, even children’s exercise books,” said Dangarembga, who penned the 1989 blockbuster “Nervous Conditions” novel that propelled her to international stardom.

She added: “This should be illegal. What can be done?⁦”

One of the books MP Musanhi donated to dozens of schools in Bindura North constituency

It emerged that Musanhi used his position in Parliament as Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports and Culture to advance his vision of making education accessible for all in his constituency.

Meanwhile, a teacher at Chipadze Primary School in Bindura, told Zimbabwe Voice that to them and “everyone else” in the community, they saw nothing wrong with covering books with pictures of national leaders.

“That book belongs to students of this school here. The area MP, Honourable Musanhi, donates exercise books to thousands of pupils in this constituency,” said the teacher under anonymity as she was not cleared to speak to the press.

“In fact, it is not only exercise books that bear the legislator’s name here. Teachers and pupils alike go for sports in t-shirts donated by him.

Hon. Kenneth Shupikai Musanhi

She added: “He (Musanhi) donated the 30 seater Mitsubishi Canter bus and a vehicle to the school a few years ago and these bear his name.

“It might appear unusual elsewhere, but it doesn’t raise any eyebrows to everyone else in this area as the MP is helping the people a lot.”

Speaking separately to Zimbabwe Voice, a general dealer at Bindura Town identified as Washington Chakwera said words like “brainwashing” and “indoctrination” mean nothing to the Bindura folk who only see in Musanhi a man with a big heart for the community.

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“Those are words for your newspapers and for people only commenting from a distance. Here on the ground, all we want is development and Honourable Musanhi has left indelible footprints of sustainable development. The man has refurbished and even built new classroom blocks at Chipadze Primary, Kambira Primary, Kambira Secondary, Cowley Seconday, Chipadze Farm Secondary, Manga Primary, Mabwemachena Primary, Makuri Ranch Primary, Rosetta Rust Secondary, St Basil’s Secondary and Chipindura Primary schools, just to mention a few. Few MPs across the country have done so much in just two Parliamentary terms.

“He has drilled boreholes in several wards and occasionally hires medical doctors from Harare to come offer free services to the constituency, and foots the bill. Who else does that? Besides, Musanhi is not like your regular MP who gets voted and abandons the constituency to stay in Harare. He lives here in Bindura with his family and goes to the local United Methodist Church every Sunday.”

An elderly woman form the constituency said all her children are engaged in income generating projects, thanks to Musanhi.

“My eldest daughter sews uniforms with machines the MP donated to several single mothers in this area. A son of mine runs a farming project with water pumps donated by vaMusanhi. Others have received welding machines and heifers for farming. Tingazodeyi pakadayi (What else can we ask for)?”

Musanhi donated sewing machines in his Bindura North constituency

Musanhi’s influence goes beyond his constituency. The politician, who has been the Secretary for Gender and Culture in the Zanu-PF Politburo, used that role to reach out to the traditional leaders countrywide where he personally donated three goats to each of the Chiefs in 2018.

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He said that was “in line with our cultural norms and values. Zanu-PF respects the traditional leadership and the values they stand for.”

A few years ago, Musanhi told a local publication how he accumulated his wealth. He is believed to be one of the richest men in Zimbabwe.

Musanhi says he bought his first plane in 1990 before buying Central Air Transport Services (CATS) in 2004, then known as United Air Charter and owning about 24 aircraft. His planes are parked at Prince Charles Airport in Mt. Hampden from where they do business that includes domestic tourism, spraying in farms, safari tours and private hire.

“I started during the war when I was about 18-years-old,” he said. “It was in 1978 I think, when soon after leaving school I started buying cowpeas from rural peasant farmers and selling them to National Foods.

“I had failed to finish school and my father wanted me to be a bus conductor but I refused and he was so upset he chased me away. So I decided to go (to) Bindura to collaborate in the (liberation) war.”

He bought taxis after the war, and personally drove some of them. He later on bought haulage trucks, hotels, buses and shares in many companies along the way.

Locals describe him as God-fearing man who stays in the affluent Shashe suburb of Bindura. The 63 years old legislator is married and has eight children.

One other resident of Bindura simply this writer: “Indoctrination? Think again!”

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