HARARE – Philip Chiyangwa is still clueless about how he lost the Chinhoyi legislative seat to medical doctor Peter Mataruse.
The tycoon mounted a spirited campaign, roping in Jah Prayzah and Suluman Chimbetu for the so-called “Vharai Gedhi” concert at which he dished out airtime and other goodies.
Chiyangwa’s campaign was based on a blend of State TV ads, Internet visibility and public forums.
He mooted a brilliant plan to maximise support, but still lost to Mataruse of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party.
Mataruse garnered 9 863 votes, Chiyangwa was a close second with 8 561 votes, while Sibongile Mgijima of Welshman Ncube’s MDC polled 543 votes.
With the July 31 vote dogged by allegations of vote fraud, many wondered how Chiyangwa — President Robert Mugabe’s nephew — could have lost such a vote.
Chiyangwa said the election was over.
“Zvakapfuura, tava kuita zvekutsvaga cash,” he said.
The alleged electoral fraud worked, analysts say, and resulted in the re-elected of a president who by historical standards, would never have won amid a depressed economy and extremely high unemployment.
The story of Chiyangwa, the former Mashonaland West provincial chairperson and ex-MP for Chinhoyi, and his uncle who has ruled Zimbabwe for 33 years, is a love and hate relationship.
There was no hand-wringing when it became clear that Chiyangwa had lost at a time his uncle had won an unprecedented seventh term as president with a thumping majority.
If anything, there was quiet satisfaction.
Mugabe believes Chiyangwa lost because he was pompous.
In an address to lawmakers at a luncheon held at a Harare hotel on Tuesday, Mugabe described Chiyangwa as “a speculative character” who was completely devastated by his crushing defeat. He wants cash all the time, but Gushungo zvakazomuwana muChinhoyi,” Mugabe said.
“Zvakamuwana kuChinhoyi zvainzi ndiri kuhwina straight, kokushainaka, rabudaka zuva iri, Gushungo, Gushungo, ah chairman, okay vasupotwa paye zvikanzi ah ndiri kuhwina, ndiri kuhwinha.
“Chiendai kumaelection and in the whole of Mashonaland West Gushungo ndivo vakati mbombombo. Zvino ndakanzwa navaChombo vachiti zuva iroro haana kusvimha misodzi asi akanorara nebhutsu.
“Handisati ndamuona kuti ndimuseke kuti nhai Gushungo makatiita chiiko but that’s a bite and he knows how to thrive, I know he will pick up again, ngaagare pasi kuti timuratidze kuti aiwa kana uchienda kuvanhu hauvhaire, hauvhaire kuti ndine zvakati, ndine zvakati. Hauvhaire kuti ndine zvakati ndine zvakati, be down, don’t show off mari handiyo inoshanda all the time.”
Chiyangwa had hoped a legislative post could lay the foundation for his political comeback. But he will have to wait a bit longer.
It’s been hurdle after hurdle for a man affectionately known as “Captain” to his buddies.
Zanu PF insiders say his election as Mashonaland West provincial vice chairperson was nullified by his uncle President Mugabe and the decision was ratified by the Politburo which resolved that the business mogul remains an ordinary card-carrying member, and will not stand for any post until further notice.
Chiyangwa made his money by purchasing several struggling companies when hyperinflation ran riot amid price controls and shrinking demand which asphyxiated many businesses.
He has been frantically trying to rehabilitate his image since the damning espionage allegations, in which he was acquitted.
Now a millionaire and a staunch supporter of his uncle’s Zanu PF party, he says he is expanding the portfolio of his “Native Investments” with new additions.
Already, it encompasses everything from heavy engineering, luxury hotels, foodstuffs to the window frame company he says he bought from Roland “Tiny” Rowlands.
Chiyangwa is involved in both high density and top notch property projects, including the famed Beverley Hills Estate along the southern stretches of magnificent Harare next to the Brooke.
He is also building a Five Star Hotel, Pentagon Palace which will feature an upmarket, shopping and banking mall.
In addition, he is opening the Crowhill Boulevard, a classic boutique concept of exquisite hotels and services, including medical, financial, audit, insurance, restaurants, telecommunications, tourism packages, retail, management and services.
He owns thousands of residential stands in Harare which he paid for in a barter deal with the Harare municipality when he paid the struggling council salaries at the height of the economic meltdown.
His breathtaking wealth has raised questions especially his latest revelation that he was buying a Bugatti Veyron and a private jet.