AfricaBrief’s Taonga Botolo caught up with the interim President of the Malawi District Comrade Tendai Maguranyanga Chambati on his return to the party, meeting with ED & a wide range of other issue.

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa's engagement and re-engagement policy is bearing fruits.

Zimbabweans in the diaspora that used to be hostile to the Zanu-PF party are now softening their hearts and rejoining the ruling party en masse.

At the recent SADC summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi, President Mnangagwa received a tumultuous welcome from Zimbabweans based in Malawi under the newly established Zanu PF Malawi District.

AfricaBrief’s Taonga Botolo caught up with the interim President of the Malawi District Comrade Tendai Maguranyanga Chambati on his return to the party, meeting with ED and a wide range of other issues.


Taonga Botolo (TB): First of all, give me a brief background about yourself Sir?

Tendai Maguranyanga Chambati (TMC): Thank you Taonga for according me this opportunity. To begin with, I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. I am a son of a freedom fighter and national hero in Zimbabwe. My father is buried at the heroes acre. This is the highest recognition one gets in Zimbabwe.

At the beginning of the new millennium, my mother moved to Malawi where she set up a school. I joined the University of Malawi, after that, I was employed by mobile operator Tnm where I was the very first head of the Karonga Branch. Briefly, that is that about me.

TB: How did Zanu PF Malawi District start?

TMC: As you are aware, Zimbabweans in the diaspora have had a history of being hostile to the ruling party. When I came to Malawi in the 2000s I found a very strong anti-Mugabe movement. I joined the Tsvangirai-led MDC. At first, it was exciting. However, the coming in of the second republic under President Dr. Emmerson Mnangagwa has brought with it a new beginning. I immediately jumped ship to go back to my roots Zanu PF is where I belong.

I had left because of the direction former President Robert Mugabe had taken. But his successor is proving every day to be the good man for the job. Humble, intelligent, mature, sophisticated, and also a very smooth operator.

So that is when I started doing underground movement in Malawi to reach out to fellow Zimbabweans based in Malawi in order to ratchet up support for our President. That is what has led to the establishment of the district in Malawi.

TB: Recently, when President ED visited Malawi for the Sadc summit you led a delegation that met the President. Firstly, how did it feel to engage with ED at the same table? Secondly, what were the issues discussed?

TMC: Let me confess here Taonga. When we were setting up the Zanu PF Malawi District, we had not consulted anyone at the headquarters in Harare. We mobilized ourselves, started meetings and the response we got from ordinary Zimbabweans that are in Malawi is ecstatic.

Against that background, we did not have the belief that President Mnangagwa, despite his busy schedule, would meet us at short notice. It was a lifetime opportunity. ED is the most humble politician I have ever met in my entire life. He is an attentive listener and very experienced.

He applauded us for the rapturous welcome we gave him both at the airport and the hotel. We discussed a wide range of issues on how best to grow the movement inside and outside of Zimbabwe.

TB: Talking of the rapturous welcome the President received, where did you get the people from? Are you sure they were not ferried from Zimbabwe all the way to Malawi?

TMC: Ha ha ha ha Comrade, be serious. You are now behaving like Hopewell Chinono (joking). On a serious note, Zanu PF Malawi District is growing by the day. Those people that welcomed the President are Zimbabweans based in Lilongwe while others came all the way from Blantyre.

They mobilized themselves and went to the airport to show their love to the President. The President was shocked. At first, he thought they were a group of people that came to boo him or something but he got surprised when he heard them singing liberation songs in honour of him.

I am sure the songs took him back to the days he was in trenches fighting for the emancipation of our country.

TB: How do you expect to contribute to the party's target of 5 million votes in 2023 polls?

TMC: First of all, we are not just focusing on the 2023 elections. As a political district, we want to contribute to the growth of the Zimbabwe economy. We have serious business captains within our fold who are eager to invest enormously back home.

The President always says "Zimbabwe is open for business" we are following up on that mantra.

About the 2023 elections, it is a forgone conclusion. ED will get a landslide. As a political district, we are planning to contribute around 300 000 votes. On that day, we have plans to hire buses to go to Harare to cast our vote and defend our revolution.

TB: As a diaspora, how do you rate ED's tenure of office so far?

TMC: I would give him 203 percent. He has scored distinction. Zimbabwe is better off now than he found it in 2017. The economy is on the rebound. There is citizen participation in all sectors of the economy. In short, ED's magic is working.

If you go to Harare today, you could feel it. Shops are all full to the brim. Cash is now available in the banks.

Manufacturers are now able to import machinery and other raw materials because forex is available. We are not there yet but the President has put in place systems that are working. Look at the way ED has managed the notorious Covid pandemic, we are the best in the region.

We are the only country in Africa that even donated some vaccines to our neighbor Namibia. The country under President Mnangagwa is on right track.

TB: Currently, there is a debate from most Zimbabweans in the diaspora who want the government to allow them to vote, what do you say?

TMC: That is a big no. We will only start talking about the diaspora vote once all sanctions against Zimbabwe are removed. As long as sanctions are in place that debate is dead on arrival. Like I said earlier, we will be going to Zimbabwe in 2023 to vote for ED and defend our revolution.

Here in Malawi, we have been mobilizing our people to register online with ZEC so that they are eligible to vote come 2023. So far the response has been overwhelming.

TB: We have tackled a wide range of issues, maybe you have something you would want to add?

TMC: My fellow Zimbabweans, a golden opportunity has fallen into our hands.

We have a leader who is listening and ready to listen more. He is someone who knows what he is doing. Let us give him the support.

Let us not be enticed by foreign powers who induce us to hate our country. Let us not be used.

Resources available, we are ready to visit other political districts in neighbouring Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, etc to encourage each other and mobilize support for our President ED and the Zanu PF party.

Zimbabwe needs a strong leader like Mnangagwa and not a puppet-like Chamisa.


A guest post by
Taonga Botolo is a trained Media Practitioner, Communication Expert and Public Relations Specialist. He has vast experience in newsroom and corporate affairs.