Selective application of the law and Chris Mutsvangwa’s grievance


By Trevor Ncube

Most parents deeply love their children and want nothing, but the best for them. Most children adore their parents and desire the best for them.

So, I can imagine the pain that Monica and Christopher Mutsvangwa feel over the arrest and continued detention of their beloved son on allegations of illegal foreign currency trading and possession of Starlink equipment.

It cannot be easy for them spending the freezing nights in their comfortable beds while their beloved son languishes in the inhuman and humiliating prison conditions that the likes of Hopewell Chino’no, Job Sikhala, Jacob Ngarivhume and others have endured.

Neville has a wife and children, who must be traumatised by the absence of their bread winner. Neville will hopefully appear in court soon for the allegations against him to be tested.

Chris said he believes his political enemies, and by extension and his logic, enemies of President Emmerson Mnangagwa are behind his son’s arrest and persecution. In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Chris turned his son’s predicament into a political grievance. Chris also suggested that his opponents were after President Mnangagwa’s position.

Sikhala was held in remand prison without trial for over 600 days. I do not recall Monica and Chris protesting the unfairness of the abuse of State resources to persecute their compatriot and fellow human being. Chris also complained that his opponents had captured the judiciary to lay malicious charges against his son. And yet this is exactly what the Mnangagwa administration has done to those it views as a threat or enemies, with Chris and Monica cheering on lyrically.

It is difficult to believe that Neville’s arrest was not sanctioned by President Mnangagwa. Or, that it happened without his full knowledge particularly seeing as Neville was remanded in custody to May 30, 2024 without intervention from President Mnangagwa whom Chris calls the “owner of the State”. It appears boot licking has failed to soften Mnangagwa’s heart and open the prison gates.

When the late former President Robert Mugabe was pursuing the then Vice President Mnangagwa, who at the time briefly escaped into exile, l am sure his family was traumatised. Chris exonerates President Mnangagwa from the arrest of his son though the best kept secret in Zimbabwe is that the President is briefed on all sensitive arrests.

This whole saga raises four key issues namely;

  1. Corruption within the political elite

    Until Naville is cleared in court, this case lands weight to public perceptions that there is a strong stench of corruption around politicians, their families and associates. That corruption can not be brought under control because the corrupt are shielded by their proximity to power.

  2. Selective application of the law.

    It is instructive that Chris Mutsvangwa sees no anomaly or double standards in crying abuse of the party and State institutions because his son is the victim when his party and the government, he has served at various times has long normalised this abnormality. It is astonishing how President Mnangagwa, who was a victim of Mugabe’s abuse of party and State resources to settle political scores, has learnt nothing from his agonizing political experience.

  3. Empathic leadership

    Perhaps after their son’s incarceration the Mutsvangwas might be converted to empathic leadership and extend empathy to all the victims of the abuse of State and party. There is nothing like personal experience to teach us the tough lessons of being empathic leaders. Clearly this lesson is completely lost on President Mnangagwa. It might be too late to teach an 81-year-old African politician empathy.

  4. Independent and professional police service

    Chris’s complaints betray his familiarity with the fact that his political party and government has personalised State institutions such as the police. A new Zimbabwe will have to prise the uniformed services from the crippling Zanu PF political stranglehold.

  5. Independent prosecution service

    Chris’s grievance outburst also confirmed that our prosecution services march to the drum beat of their political masters. This is against our constitution and undermines the independence of the judiciary, which is an important pillar for economic development.

  6. Press freedom

    It is instructive that Chris was comfortable using The Standard to communicate his pain and anger to the public. I doubt that our colleagues at Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) would have allowed his story to see the light of day. This is not the first time that our role as an independent media house and belief in a free press has come to the rescue of Zanu PF politicians. When President Mnangagwa was escaping from Mugabe he became persona non grata at Zimpapers and found refuge in our pages. The lesson here is that freedom of expression is well served by a free press and media plurality. Politicians, ruling party and opposition, must invest in an environment that is conducive to a free and independent press.

Zanu PF politics has not evolved away from crude liberation politics characterised by crude fights, which are mostly fuelled by personal agendas and less by big picture issues, values and principles. The post liberation struggle nation building project calls for more maturity than this. It demands an empathetic leadership driven by the desire for the best for the majority at most times. Nation building demands principled and visionary leadership not poisoned by provincial concerns and or encumbered by pedestrian horizons. Nation building needs resilient national institutions that serve the broad interests of all without regard to their station in life.

Trevor Ncube is Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings and host of In Conversation With Trevor. This is an excerpt from the weekly Newsletter . Please subscribe for thought provoking fresh insights.

In Conversation With Trevor

In Conversation with Dr Tendai Murisa


Dr Tendai Murisa, Executive Director of Sivio Institute, unpacks the issues that he says are necessary for an inclusive development in Zimbabwe. One of the many nuggets he shares is that “democracy is not an event but a culture.” Watch his episode

Audience Responses

From Brian Munyawarara episode, our community had this to say:

This is one of the best episode of your show Trevor..this is the kind of conversation we need to engage in , in order for our country to move forward
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Epic! Dr Tendai is one of the brilliant minds of Africa.
Thank you Dr Tendai Murisa for the great work that you are undertaking.
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