POLITICAL activists in Bulawayo have described the late Zanu PF Bulawayo youth leader, Magura Charumbira, as “a merchant of chaos”, who harassed them and extorted money from vendors and companies in the city with impunity.
Charumbira, who rose to prominence for leading a group of Zanu PF youth in heckling former First Lady Grace Mugabe at a rally in Bulawayo two months ago, died in a road accident on Monday while on his way to Harare.
At the time of his death, Charumbira was facing accusations of teaming up with soldiers to assault Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) activists, who demonstrated at a function officiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Bulawayo last week.
“It is always sad when someone loses their life, more so when one so young suddenly dies in a road accident. However, Charumbira was an undesirable Zanu PF zealot and a merchant of chaos,” National People’s Party spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo, said.
“His tendency to abuse his proximity to the junta to harass intra and inter-party opponents, vendors and other people in general is well-documented.”
MDC-T youth secretary for elections, Kunashe Muchemwa said although the party sympathised with the Charumbira family following Magura’s death, it was concerned about the deceased’s public conduct.
“It is always good to do good things while we are still here on earth. I am trying to remember the positive things that Charumbira did, but I am finding it difficult. I only remember that he used to harass vendors,” he said.
“Last month, he also assaulted our councillor, Charles Moyo. He was just a violent man unfortunately, but obviously as Africans, we are with the Charumbira family during these difficult times.”
Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said Charumbira had become a law unto himself.
“We do not celebrate the loss of life, but Charumbira had become a pain in the neck for Bulawayo people since the ascendancy to power by Mnangagwa. He had, ever since that time, become notorious for intimidating and abusing peace-loving citizens, most times physically.
“He extorted money from poor vendors trying to make an honest living. He did all this and got away with crime simply because he claimed he was President Mnangagwa’s boy,” he said.
MRP president Mqondisi Moyo shared similar sentiments: “The recent events at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, where the deceased assaulted our supporters for simply expressing their political views summarises who this boy was.
“As Africans, we do not celebrate death, but I believe God punished him for tormenting other human beings.”
Bulawayo City Council clashed with Charumbira on several occasions after the late Zanu PF activist illegally seized vending sites and allocated them to the party’s supporters, whom he was allegedly charging “protection” fees.
Charumbira was last year stabbed in the head in intra- party skirmishes at the party’s Bulawayo provincial offices. He was also arrested in 2014 for allegedly extorting money paid as rentals for a building belonging to an Indian national after police set a trap when he had gone to collect the money.