Chipangano (Zimbabwe)

Country: Zimbabwe
Details of Formation: Chipangano was created by the governing party ZANU-PF in the 1980s. Their first activity was mentioned in March 2003, as a hit squad for ZANU-PF. The group is based in Harare's oldest township, Mbare. It has become a law unto itself, feared by police, and is said to answer only to leaders in ZANU-PF, as it goes on a warpath of violence, intimidation and harassment of opposition political figures. They are above police authority in Mbare.
Details of Termination: There is no evidence of the group being terminated. Their last activity was reported in 2013.
Purpose: The main purpose of this militant youth group is to violently intimidate Mugabe's political opponents (in particular MDC supporters).
Organisation: The leader of Chipangano is named Jim Kunaka. The youth group is divided into four branches, each with a distinct modus operandi. One group identifies MDC activists, while the second group carries out surveillance and monitors individuals and MDC structures. The third Chipangano group approaches MDC members and warns them of the dire consequences of supporting the party. The fourth group is seen as the most dangerous one, beating up MPs.
Weapons and Training: They are armed with hosepipes and iron bars (Human Rights Watch 2008).
Size: no information
Reason for Membership: Group members are sponsored by government officials but also violently collect revenues from council properties, including parking lots and flea market stalls. Material self-enrichment can be seen as one source of motivation to join the group.
Treatment of Civilians: In 2008, 63 Mbare families were evicted from their homes by Chipangano. The group told them that the reason for their eviction is because they supported the MDC in elections three months before. Although victims filed reports with the police, they were unable to help them (Human Rights Watch 2008). Chipangano operates with impunity.
Other Information: --
References: Human Rights Watch. 2008. “"Our Hands Are Tied": Erosion of the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe.”