Hot Seat interview with Joseph Chinotimba

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SW Radio Africa – Broadcast: 07 August 2009

JOSEPH-CHINOTIMBAOn the programme Hot Seat, we normally bring serious guests on the show, but this week we decided to bring a taste of political humour by having self-styled war veteran Joseph Chinotimba as our guest. The Zanu-PF member is suing Thamsanqa Mahlangu, the MDC Deputy Youth Minister for 19.5 million US dollars for loss of business.

The Deputy Minister who is out on bail was arrested on allegations of stealing a cell phone belonging to Chinotimba two weeks ago. Mahlangu’s lawyer, Charles Kwaramba told us that his client was issued with summons while in his prison cell and the lawyer confirmed that Chinotimba is claiming in excess of 19.5 million US dollars. He alleges that he lost business during the time that he was without his cell phone.

The war vet leader is credited with spearheading the violent invasions of commercial farms in 2000 in collaboration with the late Dr Chenjerai Hunzvi. I managed to get hold of Mr Chinotimba and first asked him to tell us about his lost cell phone.

Joseph Chinotimba: Haina kurashika asi yakabiva. It did not get lost; it was stolen.) If you say I lost it, it means that I didn’t know where. It was stolen. Bvunza wechiti wakabirwa here. (You should ask whether it was stolen.)

Gonda: So makabirwa nani? Can you tell us what happened?

Chinotimba: Very good. Ndiri kuda kuti ubvunze mubvunzo iweyo kuna Minister wangu – kuna Mahlangu. (You should put that question to my minister, to Mahlangu.) I don’t have a comment because if I comment, I’m comment against my Minister who will guide me in the Parliament. So I cannot have a comment just right now before the court are settled. I’m waiting for the court to settle the matter, then I’ll comment after that. If you want to ask you better asked Mr Mahlangu who is my Minister and I cannot comment anything till the court is settled.

Gonda: Now I did ask Mr Mahlangu’s lawyer and he said his PA had picked your phone which had been dropped, why do you think your phone was actually stolen?

Chinotimba: Right now I don’t know whether it was dropped and it was stolen and I’m only going to know what happened exactly in the court and right now I cannot empree (pre-empt) talk anything till the court is paralysed and I cannot disturb my evidence in any way, in any type of talking. So I’m waiting for the court so the court will decide whether the minister had picked up or whether he had been stolen it or not. So I cannot comment.

Gonda: OK. I hear you have served the deputy minister with a summons and you want 19.5 US dollars, you are suing for 19.5 ….

Chinotimba: You better ask him. If he is the one who told you that Mr Chinotimba is claiming for 19.5 million, he’s the one who knows that and how can I say something which is not in my heart? You better ask him. Asked Mr Mahlangu and tell him why is Mr Chinotimba’s claiming that. I cannot comment.

Gonda: Are you saying you haven’t filed a civil suit?

Chinotimba: You better ask Mr Mahlangu, not me!

Gonda: But I’m asking you since…

Chinotimba: No, why do you want, why do I want to talk things in the UK where the UK people doesn’t want to see me there? I don’t have a visa. If I was having a visa to come to the UK, the UK people banned me to come to the UK and you want me to talk things which is needed to be broadcast in the UK where the UK people doesn’t want to see me, why?

Gonda: What do you mean the UK people don’t want to see you? Did you apply for a visa to come to the UK?

Chinotimba: Yes because they banned me to come to UK and they want my voice to be broadcast in UK but they banned me to come to UK!

Gonda: Why were you banned Mr Chinotimba?

Chinotimba: Does it have a logic? You want someone’s voice in UK and you don’t want him personal to come to UK?

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba I can’t speak on behalf of the British government, I’m a Zimbabwean and we report to Zimbabwe.

Chinotimba: Yah, I hope if you are reporting while you are in Harare not in UK. You cannot enjoy a life which I cannot enjoy in UK.

Gonda: I spoke to Mahlangu’s …

Chinotimba: Unfortunately I say I cannot comment on behalf of Mr Mahlangu. Mr Mahlangu’s lawyer should comment everything and right now I cannot comment anything.

Gonda: I did speak to Mr Mahlangu’s lawyer and he confirmed that you are suing for $19.5 million so that’s why I’m asking you, why?

Chinotimba: If he is the one who says so what do you want me to say?

Gonda: Is it a lie?

Chinotimba: Maybe. You better ask him.

Gonda: But I’m asking you because you’re the one who’s suing.

Chinotimba: Why, why do you want to ask me? Why don’t you want to ask the person who is being sued? Why do you want to ask me?

Gonda: What sort of business are you doing that’s worth 19.5 million US dollars?

Chinotimba: I don’t have any business, I’m a farmer, where I take some land from your British people, I’m a farmer! I’m a farmer!

Gonda: Is this one of the farms that you grabbed?

Chinotimba: I’m a farmer! I am a farmer! What kind of business which I can do in Zimbabwe unless only to farm? Where the British people were there, eating, enjoying their life, a good life in our land.

Gonda: What are you farming?

Chinotimba: I’m farming people.

Gonda: (Laughs) What do you mean by that – you’re farming people?

Chinotimba: Yah. Are you not understanding what I am farming? I am farming people. Ndirikurima vanhu kana usingazivi pachirungu chandataura.

Gonda: Zvinoreveyi izvozvo? What does that mean?

Chinotimba: Zvinorewa kuti zvandiri kurima vanhu kwete mhunga kwete chibage. Ndiri kurima vanhu. (It means that I am farming people, not millet or maize. I am farming people.)

Gonda: Do you mean kuti (that) you are going around like what you did in the last few years, beating up people and terrorising people in the farming areas there?

Chinotimba: That’s what you know, that’s what you are being told, that’s what you go to Britain and learn. You learn to talk lies! Who was beating people? When you run away from Zimbabwe have you ever been beaten by Chinoz? Or either you went to go there and look for money to come and put your people or your family to eat? Do what your family can do and what your family can eat and I can do what my family can eat. Thank you.

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba, did you not destroy Admore Chibutu’s home and assaulted him on 11 May 2008?

Chinotimba: What you mean?

Gonda: Did you not destroy Admore Chibutu’s home and assaulted him on 11 May 2008.

Chinotimba: Who is Admore? Who is Admore? I don’t know that person.

Gonda: Didn’t you say that murikurima vanhu? (Didn’t you say that you farm people.)

Chinotimba: Ndati handizvizivi zvauri kutaura munhu anonzi Chimhunu ndiani? (I said I don’t understand what you are saying. Who is Chimunhu?)

Gonda: Vanhu veMDC. Manga musikuenda here, especially around 2008 beating up… (The MDC people – did you not go around, especially around 2008 beating up…)

Chinotimba: What do you mean beating up MDC? What do you mean by MDC? We don’t have MDC here in Zimbabwe, we don’t have Zanu-PF; we have now got inclusive government. What are you meaning about MDC?! You are talking about people who are united here and you are talking rubbish while you are in UK! Hey? We are having a very good government and you are talking nonsense! You are talking about 20 years ago, which have been never. You are talking about beating people, you are not talking about how people were killed by Smith. You are just asking things which are not possible to be answered.

Gonda: Because I am asking …(interrupted)

Chinotimba: I said we are now in a inclusive government, we are enjoying our country, it is all up to you to continue sitting there in Britain, not enjoying your homeland.

Gonda: But Mr Chinotimba, I’m asking about you and the things that you’ve done.

Chinotimba: Huh, what are you saying! Hey?

Gonda: I’m asking about you and the things that you’ve done. Granted there are a lot of things, a lot of bad things that happened during the Smith …(interrupted)

Chinotimba: No, no, no you were not in Zimbabwe, you cannot talk something which you were not there. How can you ask things which you were not there?

Gonda: But the people you have attacked in the past have complained.

Chinotimba: The people, which people? Who complainant of that? There’s no complainants. I’ve never been sued, I’ve never been taken to the police, I’ve never, if a person had been beaten then he was supposed to report that matter to the police. You want to be clever for nothing!

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba, did you not lead a violent land grab?

Chinotimba: Ya, thank you, bye bye.

Gonda: Hello Mr Chinotimba.

Chinotimba: Huh, land what?

Gonda: Did you not lead a violent land invasion campaign in 2000?

Chinotimba: Iwe wakapusa handizivi kuti unotaura chirudziyi. (You are very foolish. I don’t know what language you speak.) Invasion yakaitika kumunda kwababa vako? (Was your father’s land invaded?) Iwe baba vako vanga vaine munda here pakatorwa munda ipapo? (Did your father have any land when the land was seized?) Baba ako akakubereka handiti aigara mugomo? (Did your own father not live up in a mountain?) Hino zvikanzi baba vako vakatora munda zvinonzi pakaitika invasion? (So If you father takes some land will that be an invasion of land?) Haunyari? (Are you not ashamed of yourself?)

Gonda: Saka muri kuti hapana mainvasions akaitika kuZimbabwe? (Are you therefore suggesting that there were no land invasions in Zimbabwe?)

Chinotimba: Invasion yeyi? (What invasion?) Invasion yekutora chinhu chako? (Is it an invasion to take back what belongs to you?) Iwe ukarasa andapeni yako, iwe ukatorerwa andapeni yako nemunhu ukaenda kunoitora kune umwe munhu unoti iwewe waita invasion yeandapeni yako? (If you lose your underpant, if someone takes your underpant and you approach that person to recover your underpant will you be guilty of an invasion of your underpant?)

Gonda: Saka ndizvo zvamanga mechiita, manga murikutora…. (So this is what you were doing, you were taking…) (interrupted)

Chinotimba: Ndati unoti here iwewe vakatora andapeni yako iinvasion? (I said is it an invasion if you take your underpant back?)

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba, is this how things should be done?

Chinotimba: Ndataura nyaya yeandapeni kuti unyatso kunzwisisa handiti. (I referred to the underpant so that you would understand.)

Gonda: Is this how things should be done, that you just go and grab peoples’ properties without following the law?

Chinotimba: Is this how the people can do when they go to Iraq and invade Iraq, taking oyiris (oils) and fuwero (fuel) of the peoples of Iraq, going with it to the London-based people. Is this the way we can do? You are not talking about Iraq people!

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba…(interrupted)

Chinotimba: Hey, shut up. You can answer, don’t continue talking, can you answer my question?

Gonda: I do not speak on behalf of the British government. Handisi (I am not) British, I do not speak on behalf of their policies and we are talking about what is happening in Zimbabwe not what is happening in Iraq.

Chinotimba: I’m very, very, very glad if you can answer me because you are not in Zimbabwe, you are in UK, where you are always talking to the UK people or talking to the white people. Have you ever asked them why you go to Iraq and fight?

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba, why did you disrupt the constitution conference early this month?

Chinotimba: No, you are now talking about things to which I am not asking. I think you want me to provoke you? Ah, ah you are a mistaken lady. Thank you very much. See you in Zimbabwe.

Gonda: Do you think it’s mature for an adult to stand on a table and start singing and dancing while the Speaker of Parliament is trying to address delegates at a constitutional conference?

Chinotimba: Which Speaker of Parliament are you talking about hey? Have you ever seen me in the television talking about such things? Have you ever seen me pictures, no man, have you ever seen me, my pictures?

Gonda: You were seen by delegates, you were seen by delegates, even officials like Trudy Stevenson say they saw you dancing, leading the disruption at the constitutional conference.

Chinotimba: You heard by Stevenson?

Gonda: And many other delegates who were there.

Chinotimba: Where were she when I was dancing? Maybe we were dancing together because it’s a lady. If I was dancing, I cannot dance without a music then. If there was a music so we were dancing together with Stevenson. It is better if she was a good lady, maybe I was going to marry her because she was dancing also. Iko zvinoizvi takungoona mapounds ne maUS ari kuno. (Now we lots of British Pounds and US dollars here.)

Takungodya zvakanaka eating together with Tsvangirai and iwewe unongopembereka uri ikoko. (Now we are eating well, eating with Tsvangirai while you are in the wilderness there.) Why didn’t you ask kuti Tsvangirai why are you eating alongside Chinotimba? If I have done something bad, I’m eating together, drinking tea together, chatting together but you are still talking nonsense while you are in UK.

Gonda: That’s why muri kuwasuwa vanhu vacho vekwaTsvangirai $19.5m nekuti muri kufarirana? (So is that why are suing Tsvangirai’s people; because you are happy together?)

Chinotimba: Iwo havana kusuwa, zvevaka suwa nenyaya yejeri  yaJestina Mukoko tirikudawo 19.5, yakadini kuvabvunza kuti munovasuwireyi vanhu veZanu-PF? Zvarwadza iwewe nhasi? (Haven’t they also sued? When they sued for 19.5 over the detention of Jestina Mukoko why did you not ask why they were suing Zanu-PF. But today it is painful to you?)

Gonda: Saka ndizvo zvemurikuzviitira here kuti just because Jestina Mukoko ari kuita sue, mukati regayi muretaliate? (So is that why you are doing it? Just because Jestina is suing so you are now retaliating?)

Chinotimba: Aiwa kubvunza. (I am just asking.) Ndino bvunza iwe uri kongo taura nezveMDC kusisina zveMDC kune inclusive government. (I must ask why you keep on asking about the MDC when the MDC is no more; now we have the inclusive government.) Hameno hako urikubvudza ani. (I don’t know to whom your questions are directed.)

Gonda: Imimi ndimi mati did I ask them when Jestina Mukoko … (interrupted) (It is you who said did I ask when Jestina Mukoko…(Interrupted))

Chinotimba: Iwe ndiwe wati muri kusuwa vanhu ma$19.5 ndikati iyazve vakushamisika ne19.5 ko yemarimwe zuro wakambovabvunzawo here? (It is you who said we are suing people for $19.5 and I said, hold on, you are surprised by this 19.5, how about the 19.5 two days ago, did you ever ask them?)

Gonda: Ipi yacho? (Which one?) Is Jestina Mukoko …(interrupted)

Chinotimba: Ma19.5 yaslogan hausikuzviziya here? (Meaning not clear.)

violet-gondaGonda: Is Jestina Mukoko MDC?

Chinotimba: Ya slogan ma19.5, ya slogan! (Meaning not clear.)

Gonda: You brought in issue yaJestina Mukoko, is she from the MDC?

Chinotimba: I slogan! I slogan! (It is a slogan. It is a slogan.( Yakangofanana nekuti Chinotimba mudenga mudenga bwaaa – mechisumudza Chinotimba muAIR whether Chinotimba is not there. (It is the same as throwing Chinotimba into the air, whether Chinotimba is not there.) It’s a slogan!

Gonda: Iyo icell-phone yepi inoita $19.5m? (What kind of cellphone would be valued at &19.5 million?)

Chinotimba: Serefoni ipi? Yaka kurwadzaka? Murume vako here aka suwiwa? Iwo vakasuwiwa igirlfriend yako, iboyfriend yako? (What cellphone? You are really upset over this cellphone, aren’t you? Is it your husband who was sued? Is he your girlfriend, is he your boyfriend?)

Gonda: Aiwaka, ndiri kubvunza kuti realistically do you think 19.5…(interrupted) (No, but I am asking realistically; do you think….)

Chinotimba: Aiwa ndiri kubvunza kuti iboyfriend yako here? (I am also asking whether he is your boyfriend.) Zvakakurwadza here? (It must have been painful to you.)

Gonda: Kutaura kwenyu kurinormal here? Zvekuti boyfriend zvabva nepi? (Is your language normal. How come you are now talking about boyfriends?) How can you say that?

Chinotimba: Aiwa, inini ndiri kubvunza kuti zvakakurwadza here. Asi iboyfriend yako here? (No, I am only merely asking whether you are upset. Is he your boyfriend?)  I’m not saying it’s your boyfriend.

Gonda: Mr Chinotimba, I’m a journalist.

Chinotimba: Matiyi? (Come again.)

Gonda: …this is my job, I ask such questions so you can’t say because I’m asking these questions then ‘is he my boyfriend?’

Chinotimba: You are asking me nonsense things. Ende iwewo futi ka…(And you…)

Gonda: Can I finish?

Chinotimba: Terera uoneka. Hauna rudo. Instead yekuti nemadambudziko ikoko kuZimbabwe Vice President Msika ashaya, you are talking nonsense. Hey? Indava usina kukwana iwewe usikazivi kubata maoko vanhu vekumusha kwako? (inaudible) (You listen. You have no love in your heart. Instead of paying condolences to us here back in Zimbabwe over the death of Vice President Msika, you are talking nonsense. There is something wrong with you, you don’t send a message of condolences to you people back at home.)

Gonda: VaChinotimba nematambudziko Vice President akashaika. (Mr Chinotimba, please accept on the passing away of the Vice President.)

Chinotimba: Ha, ha, ha. Thank you very much.

Gonda: OK, thank you very much Mr Chinotimba.

Chinotimba: Thank you Sisi, by the way, who am I speaking to, journalist who?

Gonda: Ah, after talking for 20 minutes, now you want to know my name? Why didn’t you ask that at the beginning?

Chinotimba: Definitely, because you know my name and you are laughing, you are also very happy to talk of me. Maybe you’d never talked with me?

Gonda: No. we’ve talked before.

Chinotimba: We’ve talked before?

Gonda: Yes.

Chinotimba: And you told me your name?

Gonda: Yes and even at the beginning of the interview I told you my name.

Chinotimba: (chuckles) Ha, ha, ha, ha, I forget anyway. Can you tell me?

Gonda: ( Laughs)I don’t think you’ve forgotten vaChinotimba munozviziwa. (You know that, Mr Chinotimba.)

Chinotimba: (laughing) Handizvizivi ,nditaurirewo kani. (I don’t know, please tell me.)

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