By Eugene Majuru in London
THE powerful Zimbabwean journalist also former president of Affirmative Action Group Supa Mandiwanzira has sensationally revealed his links to ZANU PF in an exclusive interview with The ZimDiaspora.
In an exclusive interview with ZimDiaspora’s Eugene Majuru, Mandiwanzira said he was fed up with those who often question his affiliation to ZANU PF. However, he insisted that there was nothing wrong for him to be an affiliate of ZANU-PF or any political party.
Our correspondent caught up with Mandiwanzira recently in the British capital, London and had a one on one interview with the man himself. In many sections of the society, Mandiwanzira is perceived as controversial, business-minded, dilligent and at least a ZANU-PF poodle. ZANU-PF led by President Mugabe is viewed in the level of Hitler's blood-thirsty Nazi party.
“What is ZANU PF? Is it a political party in Zimbabwe? Is it allowed to exist in Zimbabwe? Is it a criminal organisation? Why don’t people ask if I am associated with funeral services or church churches? I would like to entertain those questions if I am associated to any mafia, if I am, I do not mind being associated with MDC, ZANU PF, Mavambo MDC 99 as long as they are legitimate. “says Mandiwanzira, who is also popularly known as Superman by his fans.
“I am not suggesting that I am associated with ZANU PF or suggesting that I am associated with anyone. Yes, ZANU PF is democratic? Yes it is democratic. Saka zvine problem nemunhu here? There is nothing wrong in being associated with a Zimbabwean institution. As Zimbabweans we must not ask each other why we are associated with certain institutions because people can be associated with anything of their choice “said Mandiwanzira.
Picture By Anthony Robinson
Supa Mandiwanzira at Team Zimbabwes Olympic welcome and fund raising event in London
Mandiwanzira also quashed claims that he was a close relative to President Mugabe. He said he was only related to Mugabe by virtue of being a Zimbabwean citizen.
“If that’s the case yes I am related to President Mugabe. He is my relative in that he is my president, he is a black man and I am a black man too, as you are aware every African is related to a fellow African".
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) gave the Super Mandiwanzira owned AB Communications’ Zi Radio a commercial private radio licence, a development which has never happened in the history of post-colonial Zimbabwe. It is believed Mandiwanzira is just "a front man" and the radio stations has links to Zanu-PF.
Questioned about his source of finance for the radio station project and whether ZANU-PF was behind his station, Mandiwanzira replied, “I borrowed from the bank”.
“Why would ZANU PF sponsor me for my radio station? If they wanted a radio station they would have their own. They don’t need me. What does ZANU PF gain from me from sponsoring me as an individual? ZANU PF have a news paper called Peoples Voice, if they wanted a radio station they would have one of their own and sponsor it themselves. These people are making stupid allegations; they have no time to be sponsoring an individual to run their own business”.
“Because Supa Mandiwanzira is behind it. We are new, we are not talk, and we are a music and entertainment station. We have an array of fresh talent that we will be exposing. We are going to do things differently. I can’t say much because people need to listen for themselves and find out what makes us different. We going to focus on all kinds of issues that adhere to Zimbabweans, we will talk about how to get into business, whether is sports or mining We will be talking about business opportunities and how to get into business, how to get into mining,” he said.
“In 5 years time I will have the biggest radio station in Zimbabwe, we will be shaping opinion through our station not just in Zimbabwe but across the region. As a media house we see ourselves, he said.
Rumours have been making rounds that Mandiwanzira, a broadcasting graduate from London’s City University was a close Mugabe ally. There have also been strong rumours in the last 10 years that Mandiwanzira lost his wife to the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Laurent Kabila after she was allegedly hooked up by President Mugabe’s wife Grace who she is close to.
Mandiwanzira responded “That’s comedy and rubbish from people who have absolutely nothing to do”.
Asked whether he had political ambitions, Mandiwanzira replied: “I am not thinking of venturing into politics. People say things they think and dream of, things that are not necessarily true. People raise issues on things they are not founded, these people are far removed from what is actually going on”.
“I have responded to this question many times. I come from Nyanga, I was educated in Nyanga. I have been fortunate in life and doors of opportunity have opened up for me. I have done better than most of my classmates. I help schools in Nyanga. its not expensive to do so and that’s what Zimbabwean people should be doing. I have an obligation to go and lift up the people of Nyanga. I am doing things that all should be doing, I am supporting my community. We can all play active roles and contribute to our community whether we are business people, MPs I have been requested by people from Nyanga to represent them. I have not accepted but that does not mean in the future I will not accept neither does it mean that I will. Over the weekends I go to Nyanga to help the rural villagers that’s what every Zimbabwean should do. I make use of my status to help”
Mandiwanzira said his station has employed university graduates and non-graduates.
“We have much diversity, we have presenters who have been to universities and those who have not. We have presenters who have experience and presenters who have no experience. We are a young team and have mixture of maturity,” he said.
“As an individual I thrive to make life better for myself than everyone around me. I work hard and put more hours in my work, I work more than any normal person. I invest more time in everything I do but I am not saying those who do not do the same are not smart or not achievers. I work 18 hours a day. I like people, I don’t keep grudges, I don’t hate people, I am a people’s person. I am open with everybody, “he said.
“A lot of people say we are going to be biased, why not wait until we go on air. We are not going to be influenced by anyone. We are interested in demonstrating what we are made of,” he said.
Asked whether his radio station would consider giving coverage for all political parties without the bias of ZBC, as people always say, he said “There is no democracy in news coverage, because we have reported a story on ZANU PF, we have to cover more on MDC does not mean we have to carry more news on other parties. If people want to hear more about ZANU PF or MDC we will report more on what they want. We are not driven by some democratic principles in news that are not existent in the world. We are a people driven radio station. A news desk is not operated on issues of democracy.”
Mandiwanzira who has worked for ZBCTV and Aljazeera said: “I was one of the pioneers to be hired by Aljazeera, it was my first major exposure, I found that very demanding considering it was the a 24 hour news channel, I had to be up at midnight to give live updates on what was taking place in Zimbabwe. I found the experience interesting, exciting, it has enriched me in a big way. It has made me realise that there is no news organisation that is independent when everyone pushes a particular agenda”.
“Would you do it again, work for an organisation similar to Aljazeera? Mandiwanzira responded to this by. "If I had time and could split myself into many people. I would, but I am concentrating on building and concentrating on our agenda, building my own media empire. I have Mighty Movies and AB Communications” he added.
Asked why he also had many haters who spread gossip about him Mandiwanzira said; “At the end of the day not everybody has to like you and you don’t have to like everybody”. Everyone is born different we are a diverse society who do things differently. We just have to appreciate each other and give each other space”.
Mandiwanzira‘s Zi FM radio station is expected to hit the airwaves as it launches in Harare on August 15 at 12 noon Zimbabwean time.
“We will commence our broadcasting with a one hour show showcasing the 12 DJs on air and this will be followed by normal programming” said Mandiwanzira. People should wait till we go on air we are going on air to tell the Zimbabwean story, to entertain, inform and to represent ourselves and our country.
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