Mchunu rough-raffled too much feathers in KZN
PIETERMARITZBURG, (CAJ News) – THE lion of KwaZulu Natal (KZN) politics Edward Senzo Mchunu has been silenced.
Mchunu’s intimidating roars in KwaZulu-Natal came to an abrupt stop last weekend after he was stopped mid-air by Sihle Zikalala from snatching a second tenure as Chairman of the ANC in the expansive province.
Mchunu’s political gravitas came down crushing after his former secretary Zikalala walloped him in a rabidly contested race.
The diminutive Mchunu is not a new comer in KZN politics. The 57 year old Mqingwana has been in the KZN trenches for some time.
He was Secretary in Jacob Zuma’s ANC led executive in KZN in the 1990s.
When S’bu Ndebele took over from Zuma, he remained secretary until the ANC’s Polokwane watershed congress.
Apart from being ANC hardened, Mchunu is streetwise, unpredictable and shrewd.
The former teacher is reserved, sly highly security conscious, a schemer and a persevering politician.
Zweli Mkhize leap-frogged him for the chairmanship again. He let it go.
He relinquished his position as provincial secretary and joined the government of KZN as an MEC.
Mchunu is not the kind of a man who is timid of taking contentious decisions and neither is he petrified of uttering shocking statements.
Hold on! Stop the press! People mustn’t rush into penning his political obituary.
Mchunu successfully contested the provincial chairmanship in 2013 against his brother Willies Mchunu against counsel from his comrades to give his senior a chance.
I first met Mchunu, a father of four, in Hluhluwe in 2012 at Cwakeme High School which had just been burnt down by Mzinene arsonists.
I was heading the news department of 1KZNTV channel by then when we adventurously drove into the deep rural areas of KZN North to cover his visit to the burnt school.
My colleague Sithembiso Dube, a smart young cameraman warned me of the drama ahead. “You will never run shot of drama with Mqingwana,” said my comic brother.
True to Sithembiso’s caveat Mchunu never starved us of dramatic shots and reverberating voice-overs.
Mchunu lashed out at the parents and community members for not coming forward with names of arson suspects. He threatened to close down the school until the suspects were apprehended and convicted.
He also named and shamed Principals of schools in the area who had produced low matric pass rate in the previous year.
One Principal was demoted on the spot for producing a zero pass rate. Yes! Instant relegation. True to his controversial nature, he made serious interventions for matric students who were sitting for their examinations that year.
He appealed to community members in nearing schools to accommodate matriculates from the burnt school in their homes.
Little did the Good Samaritan knew what Mqingwana had in his sleeves? He dished-out grocery vouchers to families who had opened their doors to the ‘academic visitors.’ That is Mchunu for you. He is fast and decisive.
The man loves drama and camera. During his days as Education MEC he used
to launch dawn raids in schools to check on their punctuality. One evening I got a call from one of his many communication officers.
Mqingwana would be paying an early morning unannounced visit to one of the schools in Empangeni. At exactly 6 am, I, Xolani Gumede and Lunga Mdlethse turned up at the school gate with our cameras rolling.
Thirty minutes later Mchunu arrived with his large entourage, but the master was clearly serving the servants. The energetic drama queen had his bell and whistle at hand.
By the strike of assembly time, the minister started ringing the bell and blowing his whistle. Teachers and learners could not believe their eyes upon finding “a vicious new cat at the gate, demanding its pound of
He had a pen and paper in hand to write down names of all late comers, teachers and students. Then 10 minutes into learning time he locked out all late comers, teachers and learners.
I used to like Senzo, because he was generous with interviews. This however changed when he became the Premier, he stopped granting us exclusive interviews.
After winning the Chairmanship of the ANC, he sent his predecessor Zweli Mkhize stuffing his bag at a faster speed than we all projected.
This was despite all the promises which Mkhize was given after winning the Treasurer-General position of the ANC at Mangaung. His comrades had vowed to allow him to see through the last term as KZN Premier.
Mkhize was prepared to shuttle between Luthuli building in Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg. But Senzo would not have any of that. He wanted to move in the office and was not prepared to wait for the New National
Treasurer to continue clinging to his new dish.
Zikalala announced soon after winning the race that Mchunu will not be recalled, but allowed to finish his term. This is only a script a winner has to mouth to bring temporary solace to the looser but chances are high that Mqingwana will be be given a boot before the end of his term The stakes are so high.
The Zikalala grouping has no justification to keep a Mchunu in-charge of KZN government affairs when they have an option to recall him back. In the ANC an election looser will always be recalled from a high government post.
Needless to point-out to what happened to Thabo Mbeki after the Polokwane Congress. Mchun is a known Cyril Ramaphosa adherent who is silently waging a war with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace President Jacob Zuma who is serving his last term as both ANC and Government president.
Zikalala is supporting the female candidate and seems to be enjoying the tacit backing of Mkhize and Mtsholozi. All indications seems to be pointing towards the recalling of Senzo.
This is because Mchunu did that to Mkhize as well. The ANC Treasurer-General still commands a lot of power in ANC structures in KZN.
The other compelling fact is that Zikalala also need the plum job as soon as possible because he is neither employed nor running any flourishing business.
Zikalala ‘staunch backers Mkhize and Zuma might not be interested in two centres of power. Any delay in centralising both Party and Government power into Zikalala’s hands might have a detrimental effect on Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential bid.
Mchunu is not a man who would avoid hullabaloo. Senzo’s executive deprived President Jacob Zuma an opportunity to exercise his prerogative of appointing a Premier.
The Provincial Executive read a riot act to the President. It’s either Senzo or Senzo or Senzo, read the KZN list of contenders for the Premiership.
Senzo is obsessed with his security. I wonder who exactly wants him dead. At one moment he kept guests waiting and guessing as to when he would make a grand entry for an official opening of a government event at The Richards Hotel in Richards Bay.
His MECs, officials from his office and fellow comrades lined up the entrance to the venue anticipating to welcome their boss.
But the Chairman’s SUV black Mercedes Benz never rolled-by to drop the Chief.
The welcoming group was oblivious to the fact that the Premier had arrived a few minutes earlier, entered the venue through a back-door and was waiting in the kitchen to address the attendants.
– CAJ News
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