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He abandoned law school in pursuit of independence

24 Jul, 2013 - 00:07 0 Views
He abandoned law school in pursuit of independence

The Herald

development to Norton.
He intends to work closely with his team of councillors to seek a new fresh water usage charter with Harare Municipality.
“It is unconscionable that fresh water bodies that are based in Norton are utilised to the favour of far away fellow citizens to the neglect of local Norton residents who have to rely on boreholes and water buckets. We intend to set up an investment board tasked to attract investment into Norton by courting industrialists and bankers,” said Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa.

“They will assist to set up an industry that manufacture catalytic convertors for the world’s auto industry which produces over 60 million cars every year. This will be enabled since Norton is next to Zimplats in Selous where they mine platinum which is vital in manufacturing the catalytic convertor used in modern cars that use unleaded petrol.

“Platinum has been exported to South Africa so we want Selous to have the refinery and tap benefits in the mineral. In my term we want to set up a one stop investment shop that will administer the special economic zone so that it can provide an efficient service that will promote fair return to investors while providing the community with full employment and reliable revenue for city growth.

“There should be revenue generation to be put to use for the benefit of school children, the elderly and orphans. Major manufacturing industries have died and Norton is now becoming a rural area and we intend to change that,” he said.
Who is this man that promises Norton residents a new lease of life.

Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa was born May 24 1955 at Harare General Hospital. He spent his early childhood in what is now Mbare high-density suburb before going to his rural home in Chief Nyamweda’s area for his primary education at Masawi and Marirangwe South schools. Thereafter he proceeded to Kutama Marist Secondary where he studied with prominent luminaries like Minister Ignatius Chombo, Advocate Muchadeyi Masunda, Dr Christopher Tapfumaneyi and Dr Washington Mbizvo under teachers such as Dr Ibbo Mandaza and Stanley Chigwedere, among others.  He completed his high school at St Augustine’s Penhalonga scoring the highest national academic results at A Level in 1974.

Ambassador Mutsvangwa was among the seven black students selected to enter the Faculty of Law of the then University of Rhodesia in 1975.
This was the highest number of African students ever selected to study in this specialised field which the racially skewed colonial education had hitherto preserved for white kindred. His record of academic achievement accorded him a full merit scholarship from the then colonial government of Rhodesia. His fellow students included Judge Paddington Garwe, late Judge Sandra Mwamuka Ngwira,  Advocates Eric Matinenga, Joseph James and Sobusa Gula Ndebele.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Master of Public Management from St John’s Catholic University in New York. He holds a diploma in Informatics from Boston University in Massachusetts.

As a young man, Ambassador Mutsvangwa grew up with stories of how the people of Mhondoro and Zvimba were forcibly moved from their original home in the Lake Chivero area to the narrow strip of rock-strewn fields where we grew up to make way for white colonial settlers.

Among them was Joseph Norton, a particularly notorious land depredator who fell to my clansmen as they defended their lands from his rapacity. It is after him that Norton town is named. His grave is by the Morton Jaffray Waterworks.

His death signalled the First Chimurenga where great Shona chiefs like Mashayamombe led victorious battles that decimated early settlers only to be  defeated by fresh reinforcements from Port Elizabeth. The rebellious locals kept to their tradition of resistance all the way to the nationalist politics.
Young Mutsvangwa used to go to school amidst the smoke of houses torched by Rhodesian racist police as they raided radical politicians who were burning tobacco farms of surrounding white racist commercial farmers.

Kutama was also a cauldron of nationalism with its streak of Quebec French Marist antipathy to British imperial dominance. St Augustine’s would augment this political radicalism with the non-conformist Father Prosser who had clear sympathies for the most intelligent among his pupils who were melting into the bush to cross into independent Zimbabwe as of 1975.

Liberation War
Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa together with Sobusa Gula Ndebele, the national heroes Ambassador Designate Willard Zororo Duri and Ambassador John Mayowe and pediatrician Dr Masimba Mwazha all absconded from university studies and crossed into free Mozambique in 1975.
They were among the early groups of the avalanche of patriotic youths that went on to join the fight for freedom and train as guerillas as they swelled the ranks of the Zanla and Zipra forces of the Zanu and Zapu-led joint national liberation movement.

The fighting prowess of these highly motivated cadres did not take that long in sweeping away the racist colonial order of Rhodesia. By 1980 the victorious forces of the Patriotic Front had succeeded in ushering Zimbabwe to national independence and full sovereignty.

Diplomatic Service
Ambassador Mutsvangwa was among the pioneer corps of the diplomats of new Zimbabwe. He was posted to Brussels, Belgium, where he was accredited to both the European Union and the Benelux till 1985.
Thereafter he proceeded to serve at the United Nations in New York under the illustrious Dr Stanley Mudenge, a national hero. In 1989 he was seconded to Windhoek, where he was part of the Frontline States Observer Team sent to help chaperon the SWAPO victory to the national independence of Namibia. Ambassador Mutsvangwa left diplomatic service in 1990.

Professional, Business Life
Ambassador Mutsvangwa was appointed Director-General of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in 1991. In 1994 eyeing business opportunities of the dotcom era, he left for a career in telecommunications as one of the early pioneers of the cellular, broadband and internet industry of Zimbabwe.  He was a leader consultant for the deployment of the first Siemens GSM digital switch of NetOne in 1998 and the first CISCO internet switch of TelOne in 1999. He was also behind several other trunk and ADSL projects with TelOne.

Ambassador Mutsvangwa was a key player in the formation of Potraz together with the late Sarah Kachingwe, then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

Politics, Ambassadorial Post
The epochal land reform programme of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF by the close of the past century spawned new national challenges even as it opened up so many opportunities for the multitude of Zimbabweans.

Most serious was the mortal threat to the young republic as the irate Anglo-Saxon and West Europeans took umbrage at the dispossession of their racial kinsmen by the black indigenous majority. Sanctions and regime change were instituted to smother Zimbabwe out and if need be turn it to tinder by a war of aggression.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa waded back into political life to once again join a new fight in defence of the republic.

Abandoning a promising family business career he waded back to active politics and was elected Secretary of the Harare Province of Zanu-PF in 2000.
After the elections in 2002, he was posted to the People’s Republic of China as ambassador. His brief was to anchor and drive the Look East Policy as Zimbabwe’s riposte to sanctions and regime change with the help of a China in phenomenal resurgence.

The assignment was a great success as it blunted and eventually overturned the western onslaught on Zimbabwe.
The Look East Policy born out of necessity by President Mugabe has since become a boon not only to Zimbabwe but to the African continent as a whole. The now very topical African Renaissance is very much a product of the engagement with China that is rapidly ascending to pole position of the world economy.    
In 2012, Ambassador Mutsvangwa became Chairman of Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, a company that oversees the sale of US$2,5 billion worth of Zimbabwe’s treasure trove of diamonds, platinum, coal, chrome, nickel and other minerals.

He has successfully engaged major players in the diamond trade to blunt the effect of unfair American sanctions that are contrary to the KPCS spirit.
He has also been at the heart of engaging the Obama administration to the extent of helping in Mayor Andrew Young to Zimbabwe as a Special Envoy of President Obama to President Mugabe.

This diplomatic coup is a clear pointer to a thaw in the hitherto glacial relations that have been the hallmark of bilateral relations for more than a decade. Better prospects now await the aftermath of the July 2013 Elections.    
Ambassador Mutsvangwa is married to Monica Mutsvangwa, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
She is a fellow veteran of the armed struggle for national independence. Together they are blessed with four sons and a granddaughter.

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