Twenty years ago- Kwidini’s hot dog


A dog, though man’s best friend, can also be his worst enemy especially when one is called one. But one dog, Ice Breaker, a greyhound, has catapulted David Kwidini from political doldrums back into the limelight since the start of the dog racing season on 28 December 1990.

The dog has won several races. Kwidini, a former principal of teachers’ colleges and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, came into politics in January 1985 after the death of Jini Ntuta. He subsequently won the Tsholotsho seat on a ZAPU ticket in the July 1985 general elections but defected to ZANU-PF in May 1986 raising a lot of questions about whether he should not vacate his seat since he had won it on a party ticket.

The ruling party stuck to its guns, a thing that was to prove an embarrassment when Tekere was fired from the party and formed his own Zimbabwe Unity Movement. When the ruling party tried to use the same argument that had been proffered by ZAPU it was slapped back in the face and had to let Tekere keep his seat until the 1990 general elections.

Kwidini rose from nowhere to become Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture in the January 1988 cabinet reshuffle but the unity agreement was to prove his downfall. Although still a minister Kwidini was beaten in the primary elections by a political nonentity, Chris Sibanda for the Hwange East seat. Worse still his ministry was scrapped and reduced to a department in the President’s Office.

As consolation he was appointed Member of Parliament by President Mugabe who nominates 12 people into Parliament. Kwidini’s political career seemed to be sliding down until he bought Ice Breaker for $9 000.It was the fourth most expensive dog at the time.

The dog went on a winning streak and the pro-government and party media went on a spree particularly about Ice Breaker and the fact that it was owned by Kwidini. This irritated Kwidini so much that he complained that he did not see any reason why the press should concentrate on his dog when some ministers owned race horses. He did not mention which ministers but it would be interesting to know who they are.

Unfortunately, the press that had been battering Kwidini and dog racing in general did not bother to ask him to name the ministers or even investigate on its own.

– From The Insider March 1991


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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