Japajapa’s long walk to prison

Opinion Politics

ZTN Correspondent

Usaita vukomba hweshindi kumuradza muswe zvombo zvichizara tsine, goes a Shona proverb, one of Zimbabwe’s vernacular languages.

Paddington Japajapa’s long walk to prison is aptly captured in this not so common maxim. The adage speaks to Japajapa’s tendency to show off while exposing himself.

The opposition MDC activist is an enigma, an epitome of both tragedy and comedy. A tragi-comedy, you may choose to call him.

His reputation precedes him very well. Those that may not have met the man, have gotten to know about him, somehow.

Japajapa is the proverbial squirrel (shindi), with costly bravado of raising its tail sky high, leaving its bollocks at the mercy of stabbing weeds.

The MDC activist has a knack for attracting attention, controversy and trouble in almost everything he does.

It seems there isn’t anything that Japapapa has not done in his life, and in everything he has invited trouble to his stoep.

Today we speak of him as a convict.

Japajapa was Wednesday jailed for an effective two years after he was found guilty of contravening Section 66A of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 (unofficial or false declaration of results).

His conviction stems from July 31, when he held a Press conference claiming that the 2018 Harmonised Elections had been rigged in favour of the ruling party Zanu PF.

Japajapa threatened chaos, and chaos indeed ensued on 1 August 2019 leading to loss of life and destruction of property in Harare.

This is not the first time that Japajapa has been in trouble with the law.

Japajapa has been previously convicted of disorderly conduct. His shenanigans had gone cross border and poked the eye of diplomatic relations between longtime allies Zimbabwe and Zambia. In this case he had gotten his fingers burnt for insulting Zambian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Zelipa Chitambo. He had failed to secure a maize import licence and blew his top.

The chap seems pretty reckless with his tongue. Chapa! His surname is starting to make sense now.

In May 2005 Japajapa was issued with a warrant of arrest after failing to turn up in court for contravening the Legal Practitioners Act.

Now listen to this one. The following year Japajapa was arrested on allegations of seriously injuring a security guard he accused of stealing his empty opaque beer container (scud).

In 2003 Japajapa was fined $15 000 for attacking and threatening to shoot three dental clinic workers at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

Now for a change in roles. The serial offender was once offended too. Amazing!

In 2010 Japajapa appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court as a complainant against Learnmore Zaranyika whom he accused for stealing a hair cutter worth US$150 from his salon.

Japajapa is a man of many hats. A been there, done that, sort of character. He is in every sense quite a colourful character. His dress sense is testament.

The bloke was at some point board chairperson of the Dancers Association of Zimbabwe (DAZ) where he had a fair share of controversy. He is one very consistent gentleman. 

Female dancers ganged up against Japajapa, accusing him of being a sex pest and trying to dip his fingers in the cookie jar on several occasions. He had claimed to have joined exotic erotic dancers because he wanted to also pray for them.

More than five dancers including Beverly Sibanda reportedly confronted Japajapa on the matter during an awards ceremony at a local sports bar in Harare.

They claimed his involvement with dancers was only for sex and his sexual cravings towards dancers have reached an alarming stage.

Whether the allegations were founded or not is another issue. Fact is controversy and trouble always follows the gasbag.

A couple of days later DAZ issued a statement distancing itself from Japajapa.

“DAZ President’s Office would like to publicly make it available that it has nothing to do & has since distanced it’s organisation from the controversial “sex pest” Mr Japajapa” read the statement.

Controversial pictures of Japajapa in compromising positions with female companions once became a hit on social media.

Japajapa claimed he was an Evangelist too. Yes, a preacher, a gospeller.

At one stage “Evangelist” Japajapa took the good word to City Sports Bar when he turned a Manjenjenje Dancing Queens and Syndicate Girls’ joint album launch into a church service.

“As dancers do your dancing, but remember to go to church. Halleluah. I am an evangelist who is here to preach,” preached Japajapa during the event.

Such a character!

Japajapa was to repeat his claim of being an Evangelist five years later. In 2019 he told a Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August disturbances, that he was a preacher. The import of his claim was neither here nor there.

And oh My! did he steal the show during the public hearings by the commission. His testimony, riddled with contradictions, showed the other side of him. He has an overactive imagination.  

Even the world’s most acclaimed fiction writers were left envious.

Once an aspiring MDC-T candidate, in 2013 Japajapa accused MDC-T leadership of double standards after he was disqualified from representing the party in Warren Park House of Assembly constituency.

Japajapa was challenging Engineer Elias Mudzuri.

His political ambitions had started way back. In 2002 he was among other candidates who submitted their names to contest in the Kuwadzana primary election when the position became vacant after the death of incumbent legislator Learnmore Jongwe.

He once fronted pressure group going by the name of Zimbabwe Indigenous Empowerment organization. This got him in trouble with the MDC-T after he was disqualified from contesting in the party primary elections because of his beliefs in indigenisation of the Zimbabwean economy and empowerment of black people.

Is there anything that this man didn’t do? Perhaps the only thing he needs to cross out on his list is playing the role of God supposing the Almighty thinks of going on vacation!

Although the hare is known for its proclivity for tricks, it has never mastered the art of climbing trees. Yet  another proverb which speaks to Japapa and his ilk .

Asante sana!