|The Right Honourable
|Minister of Finance of Zimbabwe|
10 September 2013
|Minister of Finance of Zimbabwe
7 January 2009 – 13 February 2009
|Preceded by||Samuel Mumbengegwi|
|Succeeded by||Tendai Biti|
|Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Zimbabwe|
July 2000 – September 2013
25 January 1947 |
|Political party||Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front|
A leading member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, Chinamasa became first deputy Agriculture Minister, and then Attorney General of Zimbabwe; he also has held the role of Leader of the Zimbabwean Parliament.
Following his appointment, many Zimbabwean judges resigned, complaining of political pressure. On 9 February 2001 after Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay took early retirement at his suggestion, Chinamasa held meetings with senior Justices Ahmed Ebrahim Nicholas (the last white justice on the Zimbabwean Court), and told them for their own safety to leave.
In 2002, following what Chinamasa considered lenient conviction of three United States citizens caught and convicted of smuggling arms in an aircraft, Zimbabwean High Court judge Fergus Blackie brought successful charges against Chinamasa for a conviction of "scandalising the court." Chinamasa had Blackie immediately arrested on charges of "corruption," on the grounds of having decided the case of a white woman improperly (on the basis of an alleged adulterous relationship and racist bias), and without the support of the other judge that was sitting with him on the matter. After the case closed, Chinamasa declared various NGO's illegal, including leading Human Rights organisation the Amani Trust which provides support to victims of torture; and was reportedly accused of working with the British government to unseat President Robert Mugabe and destabilise the nation.
On 17 December 2004, Chinamasa, who had been the Secretary for Legal Affairs of ZANU-PF, was removed from the party's Politburo. In 2005, Chinamasa was ejected from his post as Justice Minister; however, six months later he was returned to the post.
In September 2006, Chinamasa was cleared by a judge of trying to pervert the course of justice. Chinamasa was accused of trying to stop a prosecution witness, James Kaunye, from testifying in a case against the Minister of State for National Security, Didymus Mutasa, who had been accused of inciting public violence.
He is among host of individuals not allowed to travel to the United States because the US government feels he has worked to undermine democracy in Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa and Labor Minister Nicholas Goche met with Tendai Biti (MDC-T) and Welshman Ncube (MDC-M), Secretaries General of their respective Movement for Democratic Change factions, in Pretoria, South Africa on 16 June 2007. South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the Southern African Development Community, presided over the negotiations which sought to end economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa was nominated as ZANU-PF's candidate for the House of Assembly seat from Makoni Central in the March 2008 parliamentary election, but he was defeated. Chinamasa received 4 050 votes against 7,060 for John Nyamande of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Within ZANU-PF, Chinamasa has been seen as an ally of Emmerson Mnangagwa since 2004. As of 2008, Chinamasa is the Chairman of ZANU-PF's Information and Publicity Sub-Committee, and in that capacity he acted as spokesman for ZANU-PF in the period following the 2008 presidential and parliamentary election. In this respect, he was viewed as taking over the roles of Minister of Information and Publicity Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and ZANU-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Nathan Shamuyarira.
Along with Goche, Chinamasa was one of the negotiators sent by ZANU-PF to the talks between political parties that began in Pretoria on 10 July 2008, following Mugabe's disputed re-election.
Chinamasa was appointed to the Senate by Mugabe on 25 August 2008. On 7 January 2009, The Herald reported that Chinamasa had been appointed as Acting Minister of Finance following the dismissal of Samuel Mumbengegwi, who no longer held a seat in Parliament. In this position, Chinamasa took a historic step in the ongoing hyperinflation crisis in Zimbabwe, announcing that all Zimbabweans would be allowed to conduct business in any currency as of the end of January 2009.
In February 2003, Chinamasa sent the police to arrest Peter Baker, a white farmer who had refused to vacate his farm, Rocklands, in favour of the Minister after successfully challenging its seizure in court. Eight months after the seizure, the farm's water supply has been squandered, undermining its future productivity and that of the neighbouring farms.
In September 2003, white farmer Richard Yates was evicted from his 800-hectare tobacco farm Tsukumai Farm at Headlands, located east of Harare. Although Chinamasa paid some compensation, Yates is still awaiting final payment and said that he considers the farm his in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. The following year his wife Monica won the Zimbabwean Tobacco grower of the year award, together with a Z$24million prize and trophy as the 2004/2005 top grower at a ceremony in Harare on 29 July. British MP Kate Hoey, who made a fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe earlier in the year, said the award was shocking: "It is like someone stealing a race horse and winning the Grand National." As a result, London based British American Tobacco came under pressure to stop its Zimbabwean associate company sponsoring the award, which it did the following year.
Asked whether the will of the Zimbabwean people would be subverted should Mugabe lose, Chinamasa said: "If people attempted to unfree themselves, moves would be made to free them."
Chinamasa is married to Monica Chinamasa. His children include:
- Chengetai– Although banned from travelling into the United States, gaining entry using his mothers surname he claimed his home location as Worcester, Massachusetts, where he studied and also worked for Keller Williams. He died in November 2007.
- Gamuchirai– DoB 11 Nov 1991.
- Zimbabwe Police Seize Opposition Leader's Passport VOA News
- Court clears Zimbabwe's minister BBC News– 4 September 2006
- Mugabe dumps his hardline disciples Telegraph.co.uk– 5 January 2005
- Zimbabwe The countdown to Chaos– 2001
- Zimbabwe: Rights under siege: State intimidation of Human Rights NGO Amani Trust. | Amnesty International
- Constantine Chimakure, "Mugabe fires Moyo", Zimbabwe Daily Mirror (zimbabwesituation.com), 18 December 2004.
- US Dept. of Treasury  (accessed 02/07/2008)
- "Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Names Poll Candidates", The Herald (allAfrica.com), 15 February 2008.
- "Is the ZEC sitting on results?", AFP (IOL), 31 March 2008.
- Mutongi Gava, "VP Mujuru not defeated", newzimbabwe.com, 31 March 2008.
- "Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Running Zanu PF Campaign", Zimbabwe Independent (allAfrica.com), 8 May 2008.
- "Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF says to launch run-off campaign when ZEC sets date", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), 15 May 2008.
- Barry Bearak, "Zimbabwe opponents begin talking about talks", International Herald Tribune, 10 July 2008.
- "President Appoints Ministers", The Herald, 25 August 2008.
- "Mugabe appoints acting ministers: report", Sapa-AFP (IOL), 7 January 2009.
- "Zimbabwe abandons its currency". BBC News. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Cabinet sworn in amid chaotic scenes", Newzimbabwe.com, 13 February 2009.
- Cris Chinaka, "Mugabe appoints ZANU-PF lawyer as Zimbabwe finance minister", Reuters, 10 September 2013.
- Rough justice as Mugabe's man grabs second farm Telegraph.co.uk– 19 October 2003
- SW Radio Africa– wall of shame
- LinkedIn: Chengetai Chinamasa
- allAfrica.com: Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF, MDC Negotiators Mourn Chinamasa's Son (Page 1 of 1)