Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe

Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo at the White House in 2014.jpg
Mambo of Rwizikuru
Reign21 September, 1979 - 21 September, 2019
PredecessorIzibongo Ngonidzashe
SuccessorMunashe Ngonidzashe
Born (1942-08-29) 29 August 1942 (age 78)
Port Fitzhubert, Riziland (present-day Rwizikuru)
SpouseRudorwashe Ngonidzashe
IssueMunashe Ngonidzashe (b. 1969)
Munyai Ngonidzashe (b. 1971)
Auyanerudo Dumbutshena (b. 1973)
Takwana Ngonidzashe (b. 1975)
Watinoda Prabhu (b. 1977)
Full name
David Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe
HouseHouse of Ngonidzashe
FatherIzibongo Ngonidzashe
MotherAnatswanashe Ngonidzashe
ReligionHigh Estmerish Church

Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe (born 29 August, 1942) was the second Mambo of Rwizikuru, reigning from his father's death on 21 September, 1979, to his abdication on 21 September, 2019, when he was succeeded by his son, Munashe Ngonidzashe. He was the longest reigning monarch in Rwizikuru's history, reigning for 40 years before his abdication.

Early life

Kupakwashe was born to Izibongo Ngonidzashe and Anatswanashe Ngonidzashe in Port Fitzhubert, and was the eldest of five sons, and baptized into the High Estmerish Church as David Ngonidzashe. As the grandson of prominent nationalist Samhuri Ngonidzashe, he was introduced to politics very early on.

He entered the Charles Fitzhubert School in 1947, and was described as a "middling student" by his teachers who did "neither too well, nor too poorly" throughout his time in school.

In 1953, he took the eleven-plus exam, and was placed into a grammar school, although it has been alleged by many people, including Muchazvireva Ngonidzashe, that his grandfather had forced the Ministry of Education to alter the results to get him into a grammar school. Thus, he was admitted that year into the Shungudzemwoyo Nhema Grammar School, where he was described by his teachers "as not particularly bright," although noted his charisma and his aptitude with political affairs.

After finishing his sixth form in 1960, Izibongo Ngonidzashe entered the Rwizikuran civil service, and was quickly appointed deputy minister by his father, Izibongo Ngonidzashe, who at that point had become President of Rwizikuru. At that time, he became a supporter of his father's government.

During the next few years, he rose through the party's ranks, with rumors circulating that he may be chosen to be his father's successor in the 1964 presidential elections when his father's second five-year term expired, as the Constitution of Rwizikuru had a maximum term limit of two terms, although many speculated that his father might remove the term limits altogether, as Kupakwashe was seen as too young by many of his father's supporters

Crown prince

In 1964, with Izibongo Ngonidzashe reaching his maximum terms under the constitution as President, he chose to abolish the Republic and constitution, and declared Rwizikuru an absolute monarchy. At his father's coronation ceremony at Saint David's Church in Port Fitzhubert on 2 December, 1964, Izibongo conferred the status of korona muchinda (weRwizi for crown prince) on Kupakwashe, with Kupakwashe being crowned as such.

With this status, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe started to play a far more prominent role on Rwizikuran society, as he was seen to be the Mambo's natural successor. Thus, he often made public appearances, both with his father, and in his own right. As well, due to his experience in the former Ministry of Finance as Deputy Minister, Kupakwashe was made royal treasurer in 1968, to oversee the nation's finances.

When his father ordered the capital be moved from Port Fitzhubert to a new site called Guta raMambo in 1972, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe started to play a prominent role in developing the town in his father's visions, by financing both the design and construction of the buildings there. By the time the Imba yoRudzi was completed in 1978, and the royal family moved to Guta raMambo, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe was reassigned from his position as treasurer to be appointed as District Commissioner of Gutaguru.

During his tenure as District Commissioner, he continued overseeing the construction of Guta raMambo, and sought to ensure that it met his father's idea of it being the "chief village in a nation of villages."


Coronation and early reign

Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe, 1982

Following the death of Izibongo Ngonidzashe in 1979 following a car accident, he automatically became Mambo, as per the Basic Law of Rwizikuru. Wishing to emulate his father, he chose to hold an elaborate coronation on 5 February, 1980 at the Saint David's Church at Port Fitzhubert, modelled on his father's coronation, although he made some modifications, most notably not riding on elephants, but instead going by car to the church from the old palace, in addition to returning to the old palace by car.

At the ceremony, he was crowned by Priest James Mawere, and then crowned his wife, Rudorwashe Ngonidzashe as Mambokadzi, before crowning his eleven year-old son, Munashe Ngonidzashe as korona muchinda. Unlike his father, who had to order in his regalia from other countries, he could just use the regalia already present.

Following his coronation, he started to undo some of his father's policies: the restrictions implemented in the 1960s on foreign investment by his father were lifted in November 1980, by June 1981, television broadcasts began, and towards the end of 1981, further reforms were made to open the markets up.

However, on 22 December, 1981, Kupakwashe's uncle, Fred Ngonidzashe attempted to launch a coup d'etat against Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe, backed by Fred's youngest son, Muchazvireva Ngonidzashe, claiming that the monarchy had abandoned their socialist principles "in a bid to cement his own bid on power." The Mambo swiftly crushed the rebellion, though not before Muchazvireva fled to Caldia. After a show trial executed Fred Ngonidzashe on December 30, 1981, and stripped all of his descendants of their royal status.

Following the failed coup, Kupakwashe not only engaged in purges against the Royal Rwizikuran Armed Forces, he also further continued on reforms: in May 1982, he invited the Marathi expelled under his father's reign in 1966 to return to Rwizikuru, and provided funding to encourage them to return, and start their own businesses back up again. At the same time, he started improving infrastructure in Port Fitzhubert, and in the royal capital of Guta raMambo, as well as improving the nation's transport infrastructure. He also ended restrictions on tourism, with guided tours no longer being mandatory by the end of 1983.

Despite these efforts, corruption remained a huge problem, with embezzlement being common on all levels of government, including the top: in an 1985 interview, he remarked that "everyone is a bit corrupt in some ways." In that year alone, it was estimated that of the nation's budget, only 15% of the funds allocated actually made it to the programs that were supposed to be funded in the budget, on average.

Increasing awareness of Rwizikuru's corruption meant that aid to Rwizikuru started to decline, forcing Kupakwashe in 1988 to sign an agreement with the Global Institute of Fiscal Affairs, with the GIFA providing Rwizikuru with a loan of 10,000,000 reichsmarks, in exchange for Rwizikuru undergoing structural adjustment, and instituting strict anti-corruption policies. While in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kupakwashe oversaw a crackdown of corruption and embezzlement, with around 3,000 workers found guilty of corruption and stripped of their positions between 1988 and 1994, and this helped increase the amount of aid sent by many countries to Rwizikuru as a consequence of these policies, by around 1995, these policies petered out. By 1999, corruption levels had returned to their pre-1988 levels, much to the disappointment of CIFA.

Later reign and abdication

Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe, 2007

In the 2000s, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe accepted agreements with Senria and other countries to help develop the nation's infrastructure, in exchange for these countries exploiting Rwizikuru's natural resources, especially coltan and copper. While this influx of wealth had the potential to help benefit Rwizikuru, instead, most of these profits were taken by the royal family and spent on themselves and their vanity projects.

On 21 September 2004, he celebrated his silver jubilee, with Kupakwashe presiding over a military parade in Port Fitzhubert. Reportedly, following the parade, he expressed his disappointment at the quality of the Royal Rwizikuran Armed Forces, and over the next few years secured deals with TBD to supply Rwizikuru with new weapons and to provide better training.

In the early 2010s, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe started to give more responsibilities to his son, Munashe Ngonidzashe, with Kupakwashe saying in 2013 that "I will not last forever. I have an obligation to give him more responsibilities, to get him to exercise power so that when I go, he will be ready to rule over my country and my subjects." In 2014, he presided over the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Rwizikuran monarchy in Guta raMambo, with a military parade held at the town square. Following the celebrations, he praised the "newfound professionalism of our nation's soldiers," and compared them favorably to those that marched on his silver jubilee.

Over the next five years, Kupakwashe retreated away from the public spotlight, handing more and more responsibilities to his son, with royal tours becoming less and less frequent. In addition, aid to Rwizikuru started decreasing once again, as knowledge of Rwizikuru's corruption increased: by 2018, it was estimated that on average, only a quarter of the allocated funds in the budget actually were received by those programs.

On 2 August, 2019, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe approved an agreement with the Global Institute of Fiscal Affairs in which the GIFA would provide Rwizikuru with a loan of one hundred million euclos in exchange for Rwizikuru undergoing structural adjustment and requiring the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, with the legislature being the only body allowed to pass and propose budgets, with the Mambo prohibited from altering the budget.

Later that day, he announced plans to begin organizing a constitutional convention to write up the new constitution for Rwizikuru, and to abdicate the throne to his son, Munashe Ngonidzashe, as he expressed concerns that his continued rule in a constitutional monarchy would result "in increasing conflicts between the monarchy and my subjects."

On 12 August, 2019, he declared the intention to establish a constitutional convention, appointing fourteen delegates, and scheduling elections for the remaining twelve delegates on 16 September, 2019, with twelve delegates to be elected per district.


On 21 September, 2019, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe abdicated the throne at 11:00 am, and after his son's coronation ceremony, he became known as Baba waMambo (King Father). He left the Imba yoRudzi and moved to a nearby villa on the palace grounds.


Personal life

Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe married 19-year old Rudorwashe Jokonya on 28 August, 1967, and had three sons: Munashe Ngonidzashe, heir to the Rwizikuran throne, Munyai Ngonidzashe, and Takwana Ngonidzashe, as well as two daughters, Auyanerudo Dumbutshena, and Watinoda Prabhu.

Their marriage lasted until Rudorwashe Ngonidzashe's death at the age of 67 on 6 October, 2014 from breast cancer. Since her death, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe expressed his intention to not marry again, citing his old age, a desire to "not leave a young child without his father," and also out of concerns that any offspring of a second marriage would override his elder children.

While there is some speculation that Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe has had illegitimate children, especially before the 1990s, the royal family of Rwizikuru has consistently denied these allegations, with an official from the House of Ngonidzashe saying in 2011 that "there is no evidence that the Mambo has ever exercised the droit de cuissage, either prior to his accession to the throne, or afterwards."

He is a devout member of the High Estmerish Church, saying in an 1985 interview that "the Church is an integral part of my life," and has been known to serve as a lay preacher from time to time. As of a 2017 interview, Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe still attends church services daily, and abides to the principles of the High Estmerish Church.

He is fluent in weRwizi, and Gaullican, and can "comfortably hold a conversation" in both Estmerish and Marathi.

Titles, styles, and honors

  • 29 August, 1942 - 11 July, 1960 - Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe
  • 11 July, 1960 - 2 December, 1964 - Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Finance
  • 2 December, 1964 - 21 September, 1979 - Changamire Korona Muchinda Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe
  • 21 September, 1979 - 21 September, 2019 - His Most Faithful Majesty Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe
  • 21 September, 2019 onwards - Baba waMambo Kupakwashe Ngonidzashe
  • Full regnal title - His Most Faithful Majesty Ngonidzashe II, by the Grace of God, and by the will of the Rwizikuran people through the MR's heroic efforts against the colonizer, Mambo of the Rwizikuran nation and of the veRwizi people

Domestic honors

  • Rwizikuru - Anogamuchira iyo Kurongeka kweNzou, 1961
  • Rwizikuru - Anogamuchira iyo Kurongeka yeMeriti, 1964
  • Rwizikuru - Changamire kwoRudzi, 1979

Foreign honors