‘Neville Muutsvangwa in real trouble’: Matebuka

Brighton Mutebuka, a Zimbabwean lawyer and academic based in the UK, has suggested that Neville Sunungurai Mutsvangwa, son of ZANU PF power couple Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa, may face trouble after being arrested on Wednesday.

Neville’s mother, Monica, is the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, while his father, Chris, is the ZANU PF spokesperson and chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.


Neville appeared in court on Friday, 10 May, on charges of contravening section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Exchange Control Act [Chapter 22:05] as read with section 4(1)(a)(1) of the Exchange Control Regulations SI 109 of 1996 “Dealing in foreign currency”, as well as contravening the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act and the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, and the Postal and Telecommunication Act.


Mutebuka posted on X (formerly Twitter) that the timing of Neville’s arrest may be linked to his father’s alleged fallout with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF’s succession politics. According to Mutebuka, Neville’s arrest may be a way to put pressure on his father.

1. ZANU PF isinjonjo or tamba waka chenjera, they have always said. It’s prone to eating it’s own children from time to time.

2. We know that Chris Mutsvangwa fairly recently fell out with ED, leading to his unceremonious exit from Cabinet, while his wife Monica now has a pedestrian and less prominent Cabinet role.

3. While Chris retained his portfolio in ZANU PF, he strategically went into hibernation following his fallout with ED, perhaps rightly choosing to lie low until the worst of the storm had passed.

4. In his absence, we have seen a series of damning letters bearing his signature with sensational content. ZANU PF and the regime have both labelled them fake.

5. Yet the problem is that, sometimes ZANU PF can be engulfed in hysteria and paranoia, particularly in situations mired with succession politics.

6. You really do not know whether some in the party or regime can start to be doubtful or suspicious. To make matters worse, it’s not yet clear whether or not Chris has patched things up with ED, although he appeared to be on the way to doing so.

7. Enter this Neville arrest incident & Monica Mutsvangwa’s leaked audio, which would appear to suggest that she was rattled by this development.

8. Perhaps Neville picked the worst possible moment for his moment of sheer folly – recklessly displaying a WhatsApp status capable of being construed as showing defiance & contempt via showing his current $ZiG v US$ rate at a time the regime is nervously & desperately trying everything to shore up the beleaguered currency’s value.

9. That clumsiness/immaturity/recklessness probably converged with an uncompleted patching-up process between Chris & ED and elements in the regime who still had unfinished business with Chris went Voila! takubatira pano!

10. It is a combination of unfinished business & conspiracies surrounding succession politics which potentially spells doom for Neville.

11. By the looks of things, the regime has been aware of Neville’s shenanigans for some time. Typical of the regime, it lets you relax …. appearing not to take notice of this until such a time you cross its path like he has now done, before proceeding to throw the book at the presumed villain mercilessly!

12. And so it seems that via that lengthy charge sheet and the customary denial of bail before the weekend usually reserved for the regime’s worst critics, we can fathom that Neville could be in for a chastening experience pursuant to sending a chilling message to his garrulous & indiscrete father.

13. Monica would not get rattled unless she felt she had cause to via intuition, premonition or a sense of foreboding from either the rumour mill, recent events or muscle memory over how ZANU PF politics has been conducted over the years.

14. Then there is the question of who recorded & leaked that audio and for what purpose. This has to have been someone who had access to her, an insider who was trusted, or the regime simply calculated that once told of the arrest, she would be unable to resist the “nibble” and download to a “trusted ally” and then proceeded to intercept the call.

15. Leaking the call would serve the purpose of broadcasting her palpable fear and insecurities while also exposing her distrust of the regime – and casting her and Chris as outsiders, and not the courtiers/insiders they had been perceived as since the rise of the Vene Kingdom.


Early days but the omens do not look good for Chris and his family in the Vene Kingdom. Clouds appear to be darkening and vultures appear to be settling, but we are not quite there yet.

You see, strange things always tend to happen in politics. Sometimes you smell these things. You can sense a relationship that is rupturing or falling apart at the seams.

You see, some relationships are so profound in nature and character that, even a minor dislocation to the established equilibrium is not capable of being reconstituted – at least not easily or quickly.

Dislocation can cause annoyance – which is reparable, or it can result in a catastrophic loss of trust or connection, or safe space/bubble or treasured ‘dynamic’ and suddenly everything feels off!

That could be where Chris & his family are at a most delicate moment in the succession battle, casting them as outsiders and deserving of the treatment which should be meted out to “enemies”!

All should be revealed in the next few weeks. We should mark out whether there is escalation or de-escalation.

Make no mistake, the longer Neville languishes in “Reeds”, the more likely it will be that it will seem like curtains for Chris, that man, whose footage merrily dancing to and singing “Kutonga Kwaro” at the HCC celebrating ED’s dramatic rise in November 2017 is indelibly etched on the nation’s psyche.

If that were to happen, such a development would be so surreal as to be violently jarring to many Zimbabweans watching the drama from the terraces.

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