I FIRST met Henry Hamadziripi at the offices of the African Daily News in Salisbury in the late 1950s. My last meeting with him was in 2002, I think, at the Harare Club. I was working for the Daily News. Hamadziripi had invited me to lunc
I was intrigued. But his proposition stunned me: he wanted me to be his publicist for a bid he intended to launch at the presidency of Zanu PF.
I knew that he and people like Wilfred Mhanda had fallen out with President Robert Mugabe during the struggle. I wondered, first, how he intended to overcome that hurdle and, secondly, why he thought I could be useful to his election bid as a publicist.
He said to let him worry about the first. To the second question, he told me he thought I had done a good job for George Nyandoro.
I wondered about this: Nyandoro never bid for the presidency of any of the parties he belonged to, from the ANC to Zapu to Frolizi. I couldn’t remember working for him in any capacity.
In any case, I asked how he figured I had helped Nyandoro. I went into some detail to explain my relationship with Nyandoro, which had a personal element – my maternal grandparents are of the Nyandoro clan.
But the bottom-line for me was this: I loved to be a journalist and would not dream of doing a publicity job for a presidential candidate.
Hamadziripi was disappointed. Since he never made a bid for the Zanu PF presidency, I have always tended to believe that I had really let him down.
But we remained friends. I have often wondered if he would have made a better president than you-know-who.