POWER BEHIND THE THRONE :Meet the force behind Zimbabwe’s “Crocodile” president

HARARE (Reuters) – His wife is a beauty queen, his troops unseated Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, and his motorcade is fit for a president. General Constantino Chiwenga, head of the armed forces until earlier this month, is on a roll.

 

On Dec. 15 his 10-vehicle convoy, complete with soldiers toting AK-47 assault rifles, roared into a congress of the ruling ZANU-PF party. It was one of several displays of power by Zimbabwe’s generals since they helped oust Mugabe, the southern African nation’s ruler of 37 years, on Nov. 21.

Ostensibly Chiwenga, 61, is subordinate to the veteran politician who replaced Mugabe as president: Emmerson Mnangagwa, nicknamed the Crocodile. Mnangagwa, 75, was sworn in on Nov. 24 and promised to hold elections in 2018.

But since Mugabe was deposed and Mnangagwa installed, moves by senior military men have suggested the president is the junior partner in an army-dominated administration. Following a month of speculation about his role in Mnangagwa’s government, Chiwenga was named vice president on Dec. 23. He was also appointed defence minister on Dec. 29, so retaining control of the military.

That perception of Mnangagwa’s disempowerment is buttressed by reports seen by Reuters from inside Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). “The generals have tasted power and they are not willing to let it go,” reads one intelligence report, dated Nov. 29. “They want to enjoy the fruits of removing Mugabe from power.”

Another report, from Nov. 22, described the backroom negotiations to form a post-Mugabe government. “Chiwenga is the one going to have final say as power is in his hands. He is now the most feared man in government and party as well as the whole country,” it said.

The documents reviewed by Reuters are the latest installments in a series of hundreds of intelligence reports the news agency has seen from inside the CIO dating back to 2009. Reuters has not been able to determine their intended audience, but the documents cover every aspect of Zimbabwean political life over the last eight years – Mugabe, the top echelons of his ZANU-PF party, the military, opposition parties and the white business community.

In the dying days of Mugabe’s regime, the CIO – the principal organ of Mugabe’s police state – split into two factions. One served the interests of Mnangagwa, the other those of his main political rival, Grace Mugabe, the president’s 52-year-old wife, according to several Zimbabwean intelligence sources.

Much of the content of the CIO reports has turned out to be correct, including an intelligence finding reported by Reuters in September that the army was backing then vice-president Mnangagwa to take over from Mugabe.

Army spokesman Overson Mugwisi did not respond to requests for comment on behalf of Chiwenga. However, a senior general appointed to Mnangagwa’s post-Mugabe cabinet, Air Force chief Perrance Shiri, said there was nothing wrong in having military men in government.

“Who says military people should never be politicians?” he told reporters at a lunch to celebrate the cabinet’s inauguration on Dec. 4. “I am a Zimbabwean. I’ve got every right to participate in the country’s politics.”

Mnangagwa did not reply to an interview request for this article and his spokesman, George Charamba, did not respond to a request for comment. Mnangagwa’s lawyer, Edwin Manikai, said the president wanted to “work with anybody who adds value to the economy,” in line with the new leader’s stated desire to halt Zimbabwe’s precipitous economic decline under Mugabe.

“DEMOCRATIC CORRECTION”

Mugabe’s removal started with soldiers entering Harare on Nov. 14 and announcing in the early hours of Nov. 15 that they had taken control. Military vehicles took to the streets and gunfire and explosions were heard in parts of the capital. “It is not a military takeover of government,” said General Sibusiso Moyo, reading a statement on TV.

The generals dubbed their project “Operation Restore Legacy.” They called the move a “democratic correction” against a 93-year-old leader whose decisions, they alleged, were being manipulated by an ambitious wife half his age. Reuters was unable to contact Grace Mugabe for comment.

Since his appointment, Mnangagwa has promised to rebuild relations with the West, to protect foreign investors and to hold elections.

“I intend, nay, am required, to serve our country as the president of all citizens, regardless of colour, creed, religion, tribe or political affiliation,” he said after being sworn in. The voice of the people was the “voice of God.”

But for many Zimbabweans, actions speak louder than words.

On Dec. 4, Mnangagwa appointed Shiri, the Air Force chief, to the post of minister of agriculture. Moyo, the general who had announced the military’s intervention, became foreign minister.

“Mnangagwa has got the reins but he cannot operate outside the generals that put him in office,” said Martin Rupiya, a Zimbabwean professor at the University of South Africa in Pretoria and an expert on the Zimbabwe military.

On Dec. 6, Foreign Minister Moyo publicly overruled Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a civilian lawyer, as he outlined the financial terms of a Chinese loan for Harare airport.

“You should tell the reporters not to include the terms,” Moyo told Chinamasa, wagging his finger at him and the reporters gathered at the finance ministry for the announcement.

Chinamasa said the incident was the result of a misunderstanding and did not reflect military muscle-flexing. Moyo did not respond to a request for comment.

Ever since a guerrilla war against colonial Britain and white-minority rule in the 1960s and 1970s, Zimbabweans have been used to the army and intelligence services playing a covert role in politics. But to many Zimbabweans, the appointment of military men to the cabinet was a shock.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change reminded the ruling party in a statement on Dec. 18 that “members of the security services are bound by the Constitution not to operate as political activists of any political party.”

Tendai Biti, finance minister in a 2009-2013 unity government, expressed concern at “the obvious militarisation” of the Zimbabwean state. “You cannot make a direct transition from the barracks to public office. We believe citizens should have that right to choose their representatives,” he said.

International Crisis Group analyst Piers Pigou said the “deployment of serving senior military officers removes the last pretence of non-military bias in Zimbabwe’s politics. This is vintage wine in a camouflage decanter.”

AMERICA AND CHINA

If there were overt military rule, it could complicate Mnangagwa’s efforts to get Zimbabwe’s economy back on its feet, some Western diplomats say. Since the seizure by the Mugabe regime of thousands of white-owned commercial farms after 2000, Zimbabwe’s GDP has almost halved and the banking system has endured a meltdown that saw inflation top out at 500 billion percent in 2008. To kick-start growth, Mnangagwa will need to clear $1.8 billion of arrears with multilateral lenders such as the World Bank. He will also have to attract private investors.

“These things don’t happen overnight, and they have to really show they will implement what they say they will do. That is key,” said Christian Beddes, the Zimbabwe representative of the International Monetary Fund.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, told Reuters on Nov. 29 that Britain could extend a bridging loan to help Zimbabwe clear World Bank and African Development Bank arrears, but such support would depend on “democratic progress.”

U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas avoided the term “coup” to describe Mugabe’s overthrow, referring to it as a “military intervention.” Thomas said Mnangagwa’s administration should be judged by its performance – most notably whether it manages to hold credible elections next year. He was speaking on Dec. 6, two days after the cabinet was sworn in.

China too is an interested party. It has significant investments and loans outstanding in Zimbabwe and long ties to Mugabe, Mnangagwa and Chiwenga.

In early November, after Mugabe had sacked Mnangagwa for plotting against him, Mnangagwa met Chiwenga in China, said two sources familiar with the general’s movements. Chiwenga also met Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan, and the pair even discussed tactics to be used in the coup, according to two sources familiar with the talks. Beijing did not respond to a request for comment. Its Foreign Ministry has previously described Chiwenga’s visit as a “normal military exchange mutually agreed upon by China and Zimbabwe.”

Speaking at a signing ceremony for the Harare airport loan in December, Chinese ambassador Huang Ping said China’s government would “continue to support the Zimbabwean government in their economic development.”

GOLFING GENERAL

For Chiwenga, quitting as armed forces chief on Dec. 18 was the first time he had stepped out of uniform in more than four decades.

An ethnic Karanga like Mnangagwa, Chiwenga joined Mugabe’s Chinese-backed ZANLA guerrilla army in the early 1970s. He received his training in Mozambique, where he learned Portuguese, as well as in Tanzania and China. As part of Mugabe’s close-protection unit in Mozambique, Chiwenga had regular exposure to Zimbabwe’s fiercely intellectual future leader, from whom the soldier acquired a respect for education and a keen nose for politics, according to a senior regional intelligence source who knows Chiwenga.

After independence in 1980, Chiwenga managed to thrive in the dangerous world of Zimbabwe’s security forces.

According to a 2014 domestic media report of his divorce settlement with his first wife, Jocelyn, he owned, among other things, properties in Harare’s exclusive Borrowdale Brooke neighbourhood, an apartment in Malaysia, a safari company, a fleet of luxury vehicles and a jewellery collection that included 40 gold watches, 45 sets of diamond earrings and a tiara. Chjiwenga has not commented on the report, which Reuters was unable to verify independently, and an army spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Asked about the report, Chiwenga’s ex-wife Jocelyn said, “You seem to have all the information already so what more do you want?”

Chiwenga’s name has been linked to several of the darkest chapters of Zimbabwe’s history. In 2003 he, Mnangagwa and Mugabe were among 77 Zimbabweans sanctioned by the United States for allegedly undermining “democratic processes” and causing “politically motivated violence” in elections the previous year. Mugabe’s administration denied committing human rights violations and rejected the sanctions as an example of international bias against his rule.

Chiwenga was also a senior figure in the western region of Matabeleland in 1983 during the so-called Gukurahundi massacres, in which the army’s North Korean-trained 5 Brigade cracked down on supporters of Mugabe’s liberation war era rival, Joshua Nkomo. An estimated 20,000 ethnic Ndebele, including women and children, were killed. Chiwenga was not directly involved, but as commander of 1 Brigade in the city of Bulawayo, he provided “logistical support” to the operation, according to the 2017 book Kingdom, Power, Glory by Australian researcher Stuart Doran that draws on recently declassified diplomatic and defence archives. Shiri, now minister of land and agriculture, was 5 Brigade’s commander at the time; Mnangagwa was minister of state security.

In a 2016 interview with Britain’s New Statesman magazine, Mnangagwa dismissed allegations he was a Gukurahundi “enforcer,” saying these were smears peddled by political opponents. An army spokesman did not respond to a request for comment by Chiwenga or Shiri about their role in Gukurahundi. As career military officers, they have rarely given interviews and are not known to have commented on the massacres.

Chiwenga was head of the army in 2008 when troops removed thousands of artisanal miners from the Chiadzwa diamond fields in the eastern district of Marange. Before the army moved in, Marange had been open to small-scale local operators. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 200 people were killed, and the army then went on to use forced child labour and torture in running the fields for its own benefit. An army spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

In Mnangagwa, most of whose career has also been spent in security or intelligence, Chiwenga has a formidable rival. But – at 14 years Mnangagwa’s junior – Chiwenga has time to play the long game for himself and his comrades in arms.

“The generals want Mnangagwa to run for one or two terms before handing over to Chiwenga,” the Nov. 29 intelligence report reads. “They want Chiwenga to be in power for two terms before handing over to the next general to be announced.”

Ousted VP Mphoko Demands Exit Package, Hires Welshman Ncube

Former Vice President Mr Phelekezela Mphoko, who was recently fired from Zanu-pf and Government, is in the process of engaging the Government to negotiate an exit package.

Mr Mphoko, who lost the top job after the new administration led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over following the resignation of ex-President Robert Mugabe last month, has reportedly engaged Professor Welshman Ncube as his legal representative in the matter. Prof Ncube, an advocate, who is also the president of the MDC party, confirmed the development, but could not shed more light.

“I’m his legal practitioner on that very issue,” said Prof Ncube.

The development comes after President Mnangagwa on Wednesday gazetted retirement benefits to be enjoyed by a former President of Zimbabwe. Cde Mugabe is set to be the first beneficiary. In terms of Vice Presidents, Statutory Instrument 86 of 2015 states that a VP who served at least one term in office can enjoy exit packages such as a security officer, two drivers, and domestic workers.

The clause has created speculation that Mr Mphoko does not qualify for the benefits since he did not serve a full term. Mr Mphoko assumed the VP post in 2014 and lost it last month, two years short of a full five-year term.

Constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku said Mr Mphoko was likely to be offered his exit package as stipulated in the Constitution. Section 102 of the Constitution says a person who has ceased to be a President or Vice President is entitled to a pension equivalent to a sitting President or Vice President.

Section 103 says both an ex-President and ex-VP cannot be employed in public office or by anyone else whilst receiving a pension from the State. Prof Madhuku said the definition of a full term was only relevant to limit a President or Vice President from seeking another term in office.

“What defines a term is a constitutional instrument. The Constitution does not require any Vice President to have served any term. The Constitution requires a Vice President to have been a Vice President,” he said.

“He is entitled to his full benefits in terms of the law. It doesn’t matter how long he served. Even a person who has be a Vice President for two hours qualifies for full benefits. The constitutional provision states that a President and a Vice President upon leaving office are entitled to the same salary as the serving President or Vice President for the remainder of their life,” said Prof Madhuku.

“Secondly, they will be entitled to benefits as stated in an Act of Parliament.”-hERALD

Tsvangirai Succession Battle Intensifies As MDC-T Hawks Push for Cancer Hit Leader’s Ouster

TOP MDC-T hawks have reportedly scaled up the campaign for an extraordinary congress in February next year to force party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down on health grounds and allow the opposition party to choose a successor ahead of the upcoming general elections.

By Everson Mushava

The campaign, being conducted clandestinely through social media platforms, has allegedly identified the party’s deputy president Nelson Chamisa and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, as front runners for Tsvangirai’s post.

Although the pair has denied allegations of angling to take over the MDC-T leadership, well-placed sources confirmed that the fights turned murkier recently as Tsvangirai was spending most of his time undergoing cancer treatment in South Africa.

According to a letter circulating on social media directed to the party’s national council, Mwonzora stands accused of mobilising for the special congress to engineer Tsvangirai’s fall.

The letter – #Mwonzoramustfall – also accuses the MDC-T secretary-general of being rebellious and secretly working with Zanu PF to undermine the MDC Alliance and Tsvangirai’s leadership.

The letter accused Mwonzora of featuring on a South African radio talkshow to call for an extraordinary congress to remove Tsvangirai as party leader.

“Douglas Mwonzora is a proxy of the Zanu PF military-backed Lacoste faction and he intends to weaken president Tsvangirai by calling him to step down, attacking the alliance agreement and making sure president Tsvangirai loses 2018 elections,” the letter read.

The contents of the letter were widely circulated after Mwonzora last week went public suggesting that the MDC-T should by-pass the MDC Alliance and field its own parliamentary and local government candidates in all contested seats across the country. He argued that the MDC Alliance was taking long to conclude negotiations on sharing of seats.

The remarks angered Tsvangirai, who immediately chastised his lieutenant for jumping the gun and overstepping his duties. It is understood that some MDC-T hawks then reportedly capitalised on the rift between Tsvangirai and Mwonzora and embarked on a campaign to have the former Nyanga North MP axed from the party, a move that would leave Chamisa unchallenged in the race to succeed Tsvangirai.

“The manifestation of a rebellious expedition by SG Douglas Mwonzora in the media shouldn’t go unchallenged. Actually, the surprising rebellion requires an appropriate response it deserves,” part of the letter circulating on social media reads.

Contacted for comment early this week, Mwonzora denied the existence of camps in the party and referred questions to Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka or party spokesperson Obert Gutu before dismissing the letter as a smear campaign by his detractors.

“It is just a smear campaign. I refer you to the presidential or party spokesperson. It is blatantly false and everyone in the party knows it,” Mwonzora said, before he took to social media to “set the record straight” and pledge his loyalty to Tsvangirai.

“I have full respect for him (Tsvangirai) and will do my best to make sure that he is successful. Some members have been deliberately twisting what I have said in interviews. They have deliberately bastardised my statements. Fortunately, all my interviews have been recorded and I have the recordings.”

Gutu declined to comment over the matter, saying he was out of the country.

“I am just seeing that statement circulating on social media. I don’t know about its source and/or authenticity. I kindly suggest that you check with SG,” Gutu said.

Efforts to contact Chamisa, who was understood to be in his rural home, were fruitless yesterday as he had not responded to questions sent to his mobile phone by the time of going to Press.

Tamborinyoka, who some sources claimed was in Chamisa’s camp, dismissed the allegations as a fallacy.

“I don’t want to dignify hogwash. I speak on behalf of the president and he has already spoken on the issue. I have worked with both Chamisa and Mwonzora, there are no camps in the MDC-T,” Tamborinyoka said.

“I suspect where this is coming from. Some of these characters soil their names through their own reckless and misguided statements. They should not use my name to clean their self-inflicted mess. My name is not toilet paper.”-Newsday

Grace Mugabe’s notorious son impregnates SA student, 22, asks her to abort

A South African student is reportedly crying foul after she was impregnated by former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe’s son, Russell Goreraza, 33, before he turned his back on her.

Zimbabweans had to confront images of two customised Rolls Royces’ which Grace Mugabe’s son imported and paid for with foreign currency.

The state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Friday that, Goreraza, who is Grace’s son from her first marriage to Stanley Goreraza, allegedly fell in love with Dineo Gwendoline Kekana, 22, in 2016.

Kekana then fell pregnant in July and when she broke the news to Goreraza, he started “playing hide-and-seek games” and was no longer responding to her calls.

“My name is Dineo Kekana, I am South African. I am pregnant with Russell Goreraza’s child. We started seeing each other in December last year, 2016. I fell pregnant in July this year,” Kekana was quoted as saying.

‘Distraught’ 

She said that at one-point Goreraza advised her to abort the pregnancy “since he could not be held accountable by virtue of being a foreigner”.

A New Zimbabwe.com report said that Kekana was “distraught” as Goreraza did not want to hear from her and apparently boasted that he was “untouchable” as he “doesn’t live in South Africa, isn’t a citizen and might actually never return [to South Africa]”.

Reports indicated that Goreraza was already embroiled in a divorce case at the Zimbabwean High Court with Gladys Goreraza (nee Chiwaya), whom he wedded seven years ago and they had a child.

According to court papers, both parties had consented to the divorce which came almost two years after Russell approached the High Court seeking a divorce order, a NewsDay report said in November.

Goreraza claimed that he and Gladys had irreconcilable differences and were incompatible with each other to the extent that they had not lived as husband and wife for the past two years. News24.com

Zimbabwe VP Chiwenga appointed defense minister

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed vice president, retired general Constantino Chiwenga as the country’s defense minister.

Mnangagwa also put co-vice president Kembo Mohadi in charge of the National Peace and Reconciliation portfolio, acting chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Justin Mupamhanga said in a statement Friday.

The two VPs were sworn in on Thursday by the chief justice Luke Malaba.

“In terms of section 99 of the constitution, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe may assign functions to Vice presidents to assist him/her in the discharge of his/her functions and perform any other functions, including the administration of any ministry of department or Act of Parliament,” read part of the statement.

President Mnangagwa took over from former president Robert Mugabe last month after Mugabe resigned following military and public pressure.

More details emerge on Zimbabwean family stranded at Bangkok airport for three months

A family from Zimbabwe with four young children has been living in Bangkok’s international airport for almost three months.

  • UN steps in to help stranded Zimbabweans seeking asylum in Thailand
  • Zimbabwean family stranded at Thailand airport for months was attempting to reach Spain

    The four adults and four children under 11 arrived in Thailand in May but are refusing to return to Zimbabwe for fear of persecution.

    Immigration bureau spokesman Pol Col Cherngron Rimphadee told the BBC the family had travelled to the country as tourists and had attempted to fly out of Bangkok in October to Barcelona via Kiev in Ukraine.

    However, they were prevented from boarding their flight because they didn’t have Spanish visas but they couldn’t re-enter Thailand because they had overstayed their tourist visas by five months and had to pay a large fine.

    They tried to fly with Ukraine International Airlines via Kiev to Dubai and on to a third country, but according UIA the family cancelled the final leg of their flight so were sent back from Dubai to Bangkok.

    The family has refused to be sent back to Zimbabwe, saying it feared persecution after leader Robert Mugabe was removed in November, but the country appears to be stable at the moment.

    Col Rimphahdee confirmed the family had applied to the UN for asylum, but for now were living in Suvarnabhumi airport and being looked after and fed by airport staff.

    He told the BBC’s Thai Service that the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, had ‘requested’ that the family remain in Thailand as it was ‘working on a process… to send them to a third country’.

    A UNCHR spokesperson said they were ‘currently exploring solutions’ but could not provide any further details or confirmation.

    The family’s situation has been likened to the film The Terminal, in which actor Tom Hanks plays a man who is trapped in a New York airport, but Col Rimphadee said: “Please try not to compare this to the movie. Their situation is not as dramatic… actually they have plenty of options.”

    “They could travel to other countries that are willing to take them… We also offered to relocate them to our holding centre where there is childcare. But they refused. They are happy to stay here.”

Intruders Pounce On Oppah Muchinguri On General Josiah Tongogara Death Anniversary

Intruders broke into offices belonging to Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri during the night over the weekend. The offices are housed at Kaguvi Building in Harare and the motive behind the break-in was still not known.

By yesterday, it was still not clear on whether or not there were any goods and property that were missing in the offices. Although the details were still sketchy, police sources who confirmed the matter said the offence was discovered on Boxing Day at around 4.30pm.

A report was then made at Harare Central Police Station and a team of police detectives and other security agents attended the scene. Investigations are still in progress and no arrests have been made in connection with the case.

“The offence was discovered on December 26, 2017 at around 1630hours at the Environment, Water and Climate Ministry which is housed on the 12th Floor of Kaguvi Building,” said a police source close to the investigations. The case was reported a few hours later at Harare Central Police Station.”

The Herald understands that a team of police detectives also visited the offices on Wednesday morning up until in the evening to continue with their investigations.

Oppah Muchinguri sat behind Josiah Tongogara in the same truck with four others when he died in 1979.

Muchinguri, who survived without a scratch, told Moto magazine in 2002, that their vehicle side-swiped a trailer of a truck they were trying to overtake before rolling twice. She said the accident happened 5km from a place they had a combined breakfast and lunch, meaning that it was during daylight.

Muchinguri suggested the truck which side-swiped Tongo’s was moving, but other versions say it was stationary.

President Mnangagwa Hired Plane For $200 000 for A Day Trip to South Africa

Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Joram Gumbo has contradicted reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa pulled a “Magufuli” and travelled economy class to South Africa for his first state visit on Thursday. Some reports went on to claim that the President had travelled with a delegation of 10 people on Fly Africa which costs $200 per person for a return ticket from Harare to Johannesburg. However, Gumbo revealed that the president had in fact chartered the plane at a cost of $200 000. Gumbo also claimed that he had no knowledge on whether Fly Africa was owned by people linked to Mnangagwa as some people have alleged.

President Mnangagwa

In an interview with the weekly publication, The Standard, Gumbo said:

Look, generally, the bookings for the head of state and government, be it the current one or the former, are done by the Office of the President and Cabinet.

We are not involved and they pay. However, in this case, Air Zimbabwe is operating with one plane and this is the peak season. Their flights are fully booked at the moment.

Should you disturb their schedule just to accommodate the president or you look for an alternative?

We have a desire to see Air Zimbabwe being viable and we opted to hire a plane, which was lying idle. Those guys at Fly Africa are not very active and we said, it is better to use their plane and pay something like $200 000 than to disturb Air Zimbabwe, which is trying to grow its market share and be a reliable airline in Africa.

On the issue of Fly Africa being owned by people linked to the president or not, I have no information to that effect.
All I know is that the airline is owned by white people but is registered in Zimbabwe.

As far as I know, it was the only airline, which was idle and affordable for the trip.

We could not disturb our Air Zimbabwe and prejudice it in terms of long-term business benefits. Look, the single aircraft that flies to South Africa also goes to Bulawayo then to Victoria Falls and back to South Africa and then to Harare.

This is a very crucial time, we have tourists coming into the country and we earn something as a country.

We can’t risk all that just to fly the president and get $200 000 or so from OPC. If you look at your economics there, you will realise that we did the right thing.

The issue that as a country we should focus on is to have more planes that fly and are permitted to land outside the country.

Our planes need retooling. They are old. We have the other plane, which is stuck in Egypt because we could not pay for the service, it’s a big challenge.

Read The Full Interview in The Standard

Chamisa let the cat out of the bag exposing Tsvangirai

Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Nelson Chamisa has contradicted his leader and may have let the cat out of the bag by admitting that there were indeed talks between Morgan Tsvangirai and President Emmerson Mnangagwa over an inclusive government.

According to The Herald, Chamisa, who was justifying his trip to the United States which has been roundly condemned as undermining the new government, said:  “We realise and acknowledge that there has been a deliberate attempt to distort the reality as pertaining to what transpired.”

The MDC-T has denied that there were any talks but Mnangagwa’s advisor Chris Mutsvangwa insists that the two parties held talks.

Roman Catholic priest Father Fidelis Mukonori who negotiated former president Robert Mugabe’s exit said he was approached by Tsvangirai to arrange talks with Mnangagwa but was surprised when Mnangagwa announced his cabinet before the second meeting.

Chamisa said: “We had a position as an alliance, which position was that we were supposed to have an inclusive arrangement, a transnational mechanism so that we prepare for free and fair election.

“And president Tsvangirai, as a democrat, as a national leader, as a statesman went out of his way to make sure that he kick-starts the process, but unfortunately, there were no takers of this inclusive arrangement.

“Government intended then to portray MDC-T as a spoiler. They don’t appreciate that building a country is not a partisan effort, it is a collective effort.

“And this is where they are missing it, this is where they want to malign president Tsvangirai.”

As reported in The Insider before, the bone of contention was that Mnangagwa wanted to hand-pick two senior MDC-T officials into his cabinet while Tsvangirai wanted to appoint those whom Mnangagwa could incorporate.

Chamisa should know about the talks because, according to a source, he was one of those who had been hand-picked by Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa advisor Chris Mutsvangwa declined to give the names of those earmarked for Mnangagwa’s cabinet for their own safety.

The other candidate reported to have been on Mnangagwa’s list is a close associate of Tsvangirai who worked with him from his trade union days and was a minister in the inclusive government.-Insider

Mnangagwa sacked Ministers with such brutality they now suffer post traumatic stress disorder, needs help

Harare – Zimbabwe’s parliament has been urged to offer psychological counselling to stressed MPs and ministers who lost posts in the political upheaval that saw Robert Mugabe finally ousted.

Ex-ministers are among MPs who are suffering from high blood pressure and stress over the loss of their cabinet posts, parliament heard last week, according to New Zimbabwe.com.

“We have had challenges as parliament… whereby we have had people who have been moved from positions and all that and people have gone through a lot of challenges, pressure, stress and blood pressure,” said opposition MDC, Prosper Mutseyami.

Stress and trauma

“As we speak, there are some people who cannot understand why they are in new positions and they do not understand that they are now backbenchers,” he added.

According to the official parliamentary record, Hansard, Mutseyami said the parliament’s clinic needed to offer counselling “to deal with these challenges or these kinds of trauma”.

Speaker of parliament, Jacob Mudenda, agreed saying his cousin had lost a ministerial post “and he became so stressed up that in the end, he could not recover.”

Many ministers perceived to be linked to former first lady Grace Mugabe were sacked in the wake of last month’s military operation that removed Mugabe from power and replaced him with Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa Went To Church With Motorcade Contrary To Media Reports

President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday attended a Christmas Eve church service at Mabelreign Methodist Church in Harare together with the first lady Auxilia Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa was given a chance to speak to the congregation and this is what he had to say:

I am a congregant of this church, I greet you all. We have come to this church which I grew up in. Most of you were not born yet in the 1940s. I attended this church before we migrated to Zambia which was still called Northern Rhodesia. We went to Kafuwe Mission, which is also a Methodist institution but I later left to join the liberation struggle. When we came back from war I attended church services here briefly while staying in Tynwald but I stopped again.

There were reports that Mnangagwa did not go with a motorcade to the church service but had instead gone in one car. However the video below proves otherwise. Watch the video above

General Chiwenga Burns $10 000 Flying Military Helicopter to Church In 808 km Trip

Zimbabwe’s newly appointed Deputy President Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, the former army chief who led a coup that ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule, flew a military helicopter to JOHANNE Marange High Priest Noah Taguta ‘s shrine in Marange , it has emerged.

Approximately, the 404 km trip would take just under 6 hours by road one way, but at a time when the new Mnangagwa administration is making cuts to the national budget, the move by the new vice president is a blow for the taxpayers bearing the costs of such extravagant lifestyle.

The government of Zimbabwe is bearing a high cost of fuel ranging from 800 to 1400 per hour for different helicopters

“If a helicopter flies for one whole day it consumes fuel of about $6,000  to $10,000 depending on the size and other specifications of the aircraft.”, said a retired Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot.

Chiwenga retired this week, slightly over a month after the military temporarily took control of the country on November 15 as internal feuding escalated in ZANU-PF over then president Mugabe’s succession.

The takeover which the army said was targeting Mugabe’s corrupt allies came days after the 93-year-old leader had fired then deputy Mnangagwa who has strong military ties and was widely tipped as the likely successor.

Mugabe’s wife Grace had indicated interest in succeeding her husband.

The army’s intervention was followed by mass street protests against Mugabe and a motion to impeach the veteran ruler who resigned in a letter to parliament as proceedings to recall him began.

The ruling ZANU PF party then appointed Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s replacement, leading to his inauguration as the country’s president on November 24.

 

 

Zanu PF Women’s League calls for extradition of Prof Moyo, Kasukuwere and Grace Mugabe arrest

THE Zanu-PF Women’s League has called on the Government and police to push for the extradition of embattled former Cabinet Ministers, Professor Jonathan Moyo and Mr Saviour Kasukuwere to face prosecution for crimes they committed in the country.

The former Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Moyo and former Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Mr Kasukuwere are believed to be in self-imposed exile fearing prosecution in Zimbabwe.

The Women’s League has further called for the arrest of former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe who they alleged engaged in acts of corruption using her matrimonial privilege.

Speaking while congratulating President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his appointment as Zanu-PF First Secretary and President, Zanu-PF Secretary for Women Affairs Mabel Chinomona said while they hailed the new political dispensation that ushered in a new Government there was a need for those who committed crimes in the country to face prosecution and bring closure to their cases.

“Cde President, as the Women’s League we are congratulating you on your elevation. Your elevation has marked the dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe.

People are now hopeful and very happy with this move. We know that with you the future is brighter for the nation.

“However, as the Women’s League we call on the Government and the police to work with their international and regional counterparts to repatriate Prof Moyo and (Saviour) Kasukuwere. They need to answer to the crimes they committed here, Prof Moyo is busy boasting on twitter while we all know the crimes he committed this side, they should be arrested,” said Cde Chinomona.

Saviour Kasukuwere

Saviour Kasukuwere

On former First Lady, Mrs Mugabe, Chinomona said she had turned the Women’s League into her own organisation where she could do as she pleased, at the same time abusing power and engaging in a number of corrupt activities.

“She must also be prosecuted for all her misdeeds, actually truth be told this G40 cabal was abusing their powers and they should be prosecuted,” said the Secretary for Women Affairs.

Prof Moyo, Mr Kasukuwere and Mrs Mugabe were leading members of the G40 cabal that had surrounded former President, Cde Mugabe, taking advantage of his advanced age to engage in criminal activities.

The trio were expelled from the ruling party following the successful launch of Operation Restore Legacy that sought to stop the rot that was stinking in the party and causing a security threat in the country.

Fugutive Saviour Kasukuwere Under Probe For 22 Industrial Stands He Awarded Himself in Mutare

ZIMBABWE Anti Corruption Commission investigators are probing how former Zanu-PF national political commissar Mr Saviour Kasukuwere acquired a whopping 22 industrial stands in Mutare, some of which have unpaid council bills running into several thousands of dollars.

Apart from the Kasukuwere probe, the investigators – who visited council offices recently – also want to know how council allocated a high-density residential stand to self-exiled former Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene’s daughter in 2007.

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Sources revealed that council has not been paid a cent for the 307 square metre stand (No. 10058 Chikanga) which has since been developed and occupied by Chimene’s daughter – Ellen. Town Clerk Mr Joshua Maligwa revealed this week that ZACC officials visited the Civic Centre over the probe.

“We gave them (the investigators) all the documents they were requesting because council is mandated at law to avail such information to law enforcement agents. Since most of the things (alleged corrupt deals) were done some years back I asked my staffers to dig deep into their files and retrieve any evidence or documents that might be helpful. I cannot say much because this might compromise the ongoing investigations,” he said.

According to council records, Mr Kasukuwere owns large tracts of land in the eastern border city. In Weirmouth near the Feruka Oil Refinery he has 16 industrial stands running into thousands of square metres. Apparently, by analyzing the way the stands are laid out, it’s a single large tract of land since the stands are numbered consecutively from No. 6040 up to No 6072.

Some of Mr Kasukuwere’s commercial properties situated in the Nyakamete Industrial Area owe council more than $60 000 in unpaid council bills. Stand No. 1015 Mutare owes council $16 408,88 while the adjacent stand No. 1016 has a debt of $13 718,86.

Stand No. 5185 (formerly Commercial Transport) has outstanding council bills amounting to $21 653,20 while the adjacent piece of land, Number 5186, owes council $5 869,07.-Manicapost

Grace Mugabe versus Auxillia Mnangagwa -a tale of two first ladies

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia shares some similarities with her predecessor Grace Mugabe – though Mrs Mnangagwa will probably not thank you for pointing that out.

Here are the key things to know about the former and the current Zimbabwe first ladies:

Auxillia Mnangagwa is 54. Grace Mugabe – whose unpopularity is widely believed to have led to her husband being forced out – is 52.

Grace Mugabe’s husband is 41 years older than her. The age gap between Auxillia Mnangagwa and her husband is wide – but not that wide. Emmerson Mnangagwa is 21 years older than his wife. The Mnangagwas have been married for 33 years.

Both women started off in government service as secretaries. While Grace Mugabe didn’t move beyond the presidential typing pool before becoming first lady in 1996, Auxillia Mnangagwa became a member of the spy agency – the CIO – in the 1990s. Then she retrained in tourism and hospitality.

Both women appear to have had some help from their husbands. Grace Mugabe’s political career really got started when she became leader of the ruling party’s women’s league in 2014. There was little doubt that her elevation then had everything to do with who her husband was. Grace used her position in the women’s league to oust former vice president Joice Mujuru, before setting her sights on Mnangagwa. He took over the vice presidency from Mujuru.

Auxillia Mnangagwa also got a political headstart in 2014, when she was elected MP for a constituency left vacant when her husband became VP. Two other contenders for the seat at the time are reported to have bowed out of the contest out of “respect” for Mnangagwa.

Grace Mugabe made a name for herself as a philanthropist by opening an orphanage in the Mazowe district, north of Harare. As an MP, Auxillia Mnangagwa helped with women empowerment schemes in her home province of the Midlands. As the new first lady though, she has stepped up her work with orphans and vulnerable children. She plans to distribute food hampers to 4 000 vulnerable children before Christmas. She’s also been visiting public hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo to highlight poor service delivery, according to her facebook page.

“I did not like the attitude by some of the nurses,” she said in a recent post. “I want to encourage staff at our hospitals to be friendly to members of the public, especially patients.”

The campaign appears to be winning her some fans. “We are proud of you, mother,” wrote Edward Mutizwa on Facebook.

Public media was obliged to give Grace Mugabe favourable coverage while she was first lady. But her extravagance and apparent detachment from the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans meant she was thoroughly disliked. That may be why there’s been discomfort with recent coverage of the new first lady in the state-owned press. Reacting to the Sunday Mail’s fawning coverage of Auxillia Mnangagwa’s visit to a Harare hospital, local media watchdog, @ZimMediaReview tweeted: “State media continuing the sort of flattering reporting it once gave Grace.”- News 24

Ululations, tears as white Zimbabwean farmer returns to seized land

RUSAPE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) – The last time white Zimbabwean farmer Rob Smart left his land it was at gunpoint, forced out in June by riot police armed with tear gas and AK-47 assault rifles.

 

He returned on Thursday to ululations and tears of joy from former workers and their families who were also kicked out – a jubilant return and the first sign that the president who has replaced Robert Mugabe is making good on a vow to stop illegal land seizures and restore property rights.

Scores of jubilant black Zimbabweans nearly knocked the 71-year-old off his feet as he and his two children stepped out of their car and onto their land for the first time in six months.

Smart’s case was taken up by Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s then vice-president who heard of Smart’s violent eviction while at an investment conference in Johannesburg.

Mnangagwa became president last month following a de facto coup that ended 93-year-old Mugabe’s rule. In the latter half of his 37 years in power, Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed, especially after the seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms under the banner of post-colonial land reform. [L8N1OE2E7]

Land ownership is one of Zimbabwe’s most sensitive political topics. Colonialists seized some of the best agricultural land and much of it remained in the hands of white farmers after independence in 1980 leaving many blacks effectively landless.

Twenty years later, Mugabe authorized the violent invasion of many white-owned farms and justified it on the grounds that it was redressing imbalances from the colonial era.

White farmers complained that well connected people used state security forces to force them off their farms, sometimes in the middle of harvesting, even after the Mugabe government indicated, some four years ago, that land seizures were over.

“We are overjoyed, over the moon. We thought we would never see this day coming,” Smart’s son, Darryn, told Reuters.

“Getting back to the farm has given not just us, but the whole community hope that it’s a new Zimbabwe, a new country.”

Rob Smart, whose father said he started the farm from “virgin bush” in 1932, expressed confidence in the new government’s pledge to protect the commercial farming sector, a mainstay of the struggling economy.

“It’s early days but so far what they (the new government) said they are going to do they are doing,” he told Reuters.

Commercial farmer Darreyn Smart looks on as private secuty gaurd unlocks the gate to his farm house at Lesbury Estates in Headlands communal lands east of the capital Harare,Zimbabwe, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

“We just hope this whole incident will give hope to other farmers, who’ve had the same situation.”

“NO CONFUSION”

Mnangagwa, who is under pressure to revive the economy ahead of elections next year, said on Thursday that he was resolute about the changes he was introducing.

“There is no business as usual. Things have changed, it’s a new era,” he said at a meeting with business leaders in South Africa.

“I‘m from the military. If it’s ‘left turn’ then it’s ‘left turn’. If it’s ‘right turn’ it’s ‘right turn’. No confusion.”

Mnangagwa’s new agriculture minister, Perrance Shiri, last week ordered illegal occupiers of farms to vacate the land immediately, a move that could ultimately see some white farmers who say they were unfairly evicted return to farming.

Shiri, a military hardliner who was head of the air force before being picked for the crucial ministry this month, called for “unquestionable sanity on the farms”.

For 83-year-old Anna Matemani, whose late husband worked on the farm, Smart’s return was long overdue.

“I‘m so happy he is finally back. He always helped us and the farm provides jobs for many of our young people,” said the grandmother of 15, who grew up and raised her children on the farm and witnessed Rob’s birth, wiping away tears.

Some of the Smarts’ joy subsided as they walked into their ransacked farmhouses.

The occupiers had looted property, including clothes, the children’s toys, three guns, bottles of 100-year-old wine and Smart’s late father Roy’s medals from when he served with the Police Reserve Air Wing in the former Rhodesia.

“I‘m sad about my grandfather’s medals,” Darryn Smart said, surveying a ransacked room.

“You can buy tables and chairs, you can’t buy that family history. But thank goodness we’re here.”

Crocodile Strikes As Zanu PF Forces Companies to Buy Mnangagwa Portraits

OPPOSITION parties in Bulawayo have accused their Zanu PF counterparts of fleecing local firms by forcing them to buy portraits of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

Ruling party activists in the city are reportedly selling the portraits at a premium price of $25 each claiming the fund-raising project had been approved by top party officials. The companies are also being forced to buy other Zanu PF regalia such as T-shirts and caps.

MDC-T Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Felix Magalela Sibanda, yesterday described the move as extortionist and called for the culprits to be brought to book.

“Our provincial offices have been receiving numerous calls from business and the general public on what appears to be fraudulent activities by some Zanu PF Bulawayo youth members. The Bulawayo stakeholders, particularly the struggling businesspeople who are operating at less than 25% capacity, are too bitter about this daylight robbery,” he said.

“We have since directed all defrauded citizens to report such unacceptable tendencies and behaviour to the police and other law enforcement agencies.

“The President’s portrait is a statutory requirement; therefore, there is no payment for it. Government must supply freely to all government premises, not to force private organisations or individuals to pay for unwanted items,” Sibanda said.

Contacted for comment, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo also condemned the move saying his party did not condone such criminal activities.

“Zanu PF is not a party of force, we don’t believe in that. Instead, it’s a criminal offence and anyone who does that must be reported to the police,” he said.

“They (public and private companies) should know where they get them (portraits). They know where they used to get them. They buy them voluntarily. All I am saying is that we are not a party of force.

“We are a very disciplined party and, therefore, we do not want people to be coerced to buy them. Anybody who does that must be reported to the police for appropriate action to be taken against them through law enforcement agents.”

Zanu PF Bulawayo chairperson, Callistus Ndlovu said: “The province has no such programme. It must be the work of some individuals. It has nothing to do with the party.”

Zanu PF has in the past suspended some of its Bulawayo youth leaders on allegations of defrauding various companies using the party’s name. There have been several reports of party youths illegally soliciting for donations on behalf of the party.

At one time, a Zanu PF youth leader was arrested for seeking financial assistance to bury a colleague who was discovered to be alive.-Newsday

Zimbabweans fear Mnangagwa’s rewards to military will usher in era of martial law

HARARE, Zimbabwe — When the Zimbabwean military ousted longtime authoritarian President Robert Mugabe last month, the army justified its intervention by pledging to restore democracy and weed out the “criminals” who had surrounded Mr. Mugabe during his 37-year rule.

But with new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a onetime Mugabe ally, rewarding military officials with a slate of Cabinet posts, many now fear a militarization of the government that could ring in an era of martial rule in this troubled African nation.

“Recently, the army has been embedded in the country’s body politic, raising fears of their involvement [in elections next year]— if they will even allow a free and fair election — and whether they will accept the results in case their preferred candidate loses,” said Zimbabwean political analyst Blessing Ivan Vava, based in Harare.

Mr. Mnangagwa, 75, was a senior member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party when Mr. Mugabe suddenly dismissed him in early November with claims of disloyalty and deceit. Mr. Mnangagwasubsequently fled the country.

Analysts suspect the move was precipitated by fears of Mr. Mugabe’s second wife, Grace, 52, whose political ambitions to succeed her husband as the nation’s leader prompted a ruthless purge of her competitors within ZANU-PF, dividing the party into two factions competing for control.

“The army merely reversed a coup that had been carried out by Grace Mugabe,” said Takavafira Zhou, a political analyst and history lecturer at the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo. The military “is certainly better than the acidic and toxic Grace, who was spitting venom at political opponents every time she appeared in public.”

The new president seems to acknowledge the concerns of Zimbabweans about their shaky democracy, and he addressed those concerns directly in his State of the Nation address Wednesday in the capital.

Mr. Mnangagwa vowed that there would be “no sacred cows” in his drive to root out corruption, fix Zimbabwe’s decimated private economy and attempt to attract foreign investment.

“The government will do everything in its power to ensure that the 2018 elections are credible, free and fair,” the president said.

But the stunning and prominent role of the military in overthrowing Mr. Mugabe and the way the bloodless coup was conducted have raised questions about whether the troops will return to their barracks so readily. Skeptics note that Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, the most prominent military figure in the chaotic clash that led to Mr. Mugabe’s resignation, announced his retirement this week, paving the way for him to be appointed as vice president.

Gen. Chiwenga “is set to retire pending redeployment,” Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the president and Cabinet, said in a statement Monday.

By contrast, no members of Zimbabwe’s embattled opposition parties have been offered government posts to date.

Power grab

In an attempt to restore order, the military stormed government compounds in early November and detained the Mugabes in their home. Shortly after Mr. Mugabe agreed to step down, Mr. Mnangagwa, formerly the nation’s first vice president, returned from exile to Zimbabwe and was sworn in as Mr. Mugabe’s successor.

In nearly four decades of authoritarian rule under Mr. Mugabe, one of the African continent’s most promising and productive nations was reduced to economic ruin. Mr. Mnangagwa now promises Zimbabweans that he will institute a raft of reforms to create employment, improve the country’s relations with the international community and end corruption within the rank and file of his administration.

Mr. Mnangagwa’s administration has demonstrated its commitment to that pledge by arresting a former finance minister suspected of purchasing an upscale house for himself and lining his pockets with state funds. The president also has tasked his ministers with drafting at least three targeted economic projects with a 100-day turnaround period to bolster the nation’s failing economy.

Nelson Muketiwa, 23 and unemployed, has high hopes for Mr. Mnangagwa’s administration now that Mr. Mugabe and his wife are out of power.

“We want the economy to flourish,” he said. “Jobs must be created by ensuring that all the productive sectors of the economy are functioning properly.”

More than 85 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Although it may seem that Mr. Mnangagwa is spearheading the charge to restore economic and political stability in Zimbabwe, observers say his Cabinet choices indicate otherwise.

Mr. Mnangagwa has stacked his Cabinet with top military officials responsible for the coup, including Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo, the army general who announced the bloodless military takeover. He is now serving as the nation’s foreign minister.

Mr. Mnangagwa’s political patronage has dashed hopes that he would reach out to opposition parties to form an inclusive transitional government to address the country’s many woes, said Obert Gutu, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Although Mugabe’s regime also had some retired military personnel in its upper echelons, the perception right now is that it is the military that is actually calling the shots because of the influential role that they played in Mnangagwa’s ascendance to the highest office in the country,” he said.

Maddock Chivasa, a spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly, another opposition party in parliament, believes the composition of Mr. Mnangagwa’s Cabinet is evidence that long-lasting military rule is on the horizon in Zimbabwe.

Gen. Moyo “is supposed to be the face of Zimbabwe to the world by virtue of him being the foreign affairs minister,” said Mr. Chivasa. “What it means is that the world must see military control of the government in Zimbabwe.”

Demand for reforms

Opposition parties are pushing the government to embrace a number of electoral reforms, including the creation of new voter rolls, more balance in the state-controlled media outlets, and allowing an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans living outside the country to vote in next year’s elections.

“We would like to see genuine, credible electoral reforms that will lead to free and fair elections, and they must be underwritten and guaranteed by the international community,” Tendai Biti, leader of the opposition MDC Alliance, told the Reuters news agency before Mr. Mnangagwa’s speech Wednesday.

But the newly appointed former military officials, backed by politically powerful veterans groups, have been quick to defend their new roles.

“Who says military men should not participate in the politics of their country?” said Perence Shiri, a former military officer and now the nation’s minister of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement. “I am a Zimbabwean, and I have got every right to participate in politics.”

But historically, the military’s political participation has been anything but democratic. In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, Zimbabwe’s primary opposition party claimed that some military figures embarked on a violent campaign in the countryside to keep Mr. Mugabe in power, resulting in former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s withdrawal from the race after more than 400 of his supporters were killed.

With Mr. Mnangagwa now sworn in to serve out the remainder of Mr. Mugabe’s five-year term of office, Zimbabweans are gearing for the next round of general elections, slated to take place by September.

But for Mr. Zhou, the political analyst, the writing is already on the wall.

“The militarization of the government is a clear indicator that Mnangagwa is setting up a post-2018 government,” he said. “The only way to guarantee the survival of ZANU-PF would be through rigging.”

Mnangagwa Drops Hint General Chiwenga Set For Zimbabwe Deputy Presidency

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave his clearest signal yet on Tuesday that he would appoint as vice president the military leader who led the de facto coup that ousted former leader Robert Mugabe last month.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the Extraordinary Congress of the ruling party ZANU PF in Harare, Zimbabwe December 15,2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

At a ceremony marking Constantino Chiwenga’s retirement and handover of the military reins to Phillip Sibanda at an army barracks near Harare’s international airport, Mnangagwa lauded Chiwenga for his consistency and steadfastness.

“I therefore urge you to maintain the same loyalty, robustness and dedication to duty as you move to your next assignment which is quite prominent,” he said without elaborating.

Mnangagwa said on Friday he would fill the two vice presidential posts in the following few days. Chiwenga is the top contender in what is seen as a reward for helping to end Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

Mnangagwa has appointed several senior military officers to his cabinet and the ruling party’s executive politburo since he was sworn in as president on Nov. 24 in what some political analysts say reflects the army’s consolidation of power since it turned against the 93-year-old Mugabe.

Chris Mutsvangwa, special adviser to the president and the influential leader of the war veterans’ association, rejected criticism of the military appointments, saying they were not unique to Zimbabwe. He pointed to the former generals in U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

 

Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga looks on after the swearing in of Emmerson Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s new president in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

He also denied a report by the privately owned NewsDay newspaper that he had said the army would play a role in elections due next year.

“It’s a lie … I said there was a team which helped to undo the dynastic tendencies of geriatric Mugabe and his mid-wife (sic),” he told reporters at his offices in Harare.

“I promised to the new president that we are going to deliver an electoral victory but that team specifically excludes the army because the army had played a role earlier and because the army is a professional army and does not get involved in election campaigns.”

The elections are due by July 2018 but Mnangagwa has said they may be held sooner than expected.

Mnangagwa told members of his ruling ZANU-PF party on Friday they would have to start fixing the economy if they wanted a chance of winning next year’s vote.

The southern African nation’s economy collapsed in the latter half of Mugabe’s rule, especially after the violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms.-Reuters

Mugabe’s Former Minister Wanted For Theft Of Elephant Meat Now Hiding In Burundi

Former Minister of State for Manicaland Province Mandi Chimene is reported to have fled to Burundi fearing arrest for crimes committed under her tenure in President Robert Mugabe’s government According to a source who spoke to the weekly newspaper, The Standard, Chimene has since made her way to Burundi after leaving Mocambique. Chimene was an avowed critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. She is wanted on charges of criminal abuse of office after she allegedly commandeered elephant meat for her own consumption from Cecil Kop Nature Reserve in Mutare. The meat was valued at $1 800. Michael Peter Hitschmann, the member in charge of Cecil Kop Nature Reserve filed two criminal abuse of office charges against Chimene last week. Part of his statement reads:
On July 24, 2017, two adult elephants were shot dead at Cecil Kop following a fatal attack on Support Unit Constable Dambe on July 18, 2017. The carcasses of these elephants were then being processed to remove the meat for sale with all proceeds to go to Cecil Kop Nature Reserve as these elephants were their property. I was advised by Dominic Mubvanyika [Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officer-in-charge] that Mandiitawepi Chimene was demanding a full truckload of elephant meat at no charge for her personal use and that she had instructed him to collect it immediately from Cecil Kop and deliver it to her. He did so at around 4:30 pm on the same day, July 24.

The second charge comes after Chimene threated to distribute the land at the nature reserve to Zanu-PF youth supporters. Chimene claimed that the land in question was being wasted and that it should be divided into residential stands for youths. More: The Standard

Mugabe’s Spiritual Father Says Grace Mugabe’s Future Looks Bleak Once Her Husband Dies

The Catholic priest who negotiated former president Robert Mugabe’s exit had no kind words for his wife Grace and blamed her for Mugabe’s demise. Father Fidelis Mukonori told the Jesuit Review that Grace Mugabe’s greed for power was a serious contributor to her husband’s political demise. He therefore did not believe that she would have any future after her husband dies. “I’m sure that people would do justice to her,” he said. Father Mukonori said factional battles that led to the firing of Emmerson Mnangagwa so that Grace could succeed him “broke the camel’s back”. The problem, he said, was: “Political debauchery… political division… slicing each other’s character… trying to position each other for power.” Grace Mugabe publicly humiliated senior party and government officials at rallies as she sought to position herself to succeed her husband egged on by the G40 cabal led by Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere. Mnangagwa said on Friday that the military had to intervene because “the party ideology, rules and protocols were being desecrated daily; or simply being brushed aside at will”. “Party structures were overrun, while elected office bearers were summarily suspended and dismissed at speeds of caprice and vaulting ambition. “Corrupt activities and corrupt individuals were being daily sanitised while millions were being stolen and stashed out of the country.” Mnangagwa who paid homage to Mugabe, indicating that he still had great respect for the 93-year-old former leader, said party events where manipulated and re-engineered with party mobilisation reduced to coercion. “Party rallies became expensively choreographed pseudo-events dominated by a roving core group which used different venues in order to create an misleading illusion of populism which belied the bitter discontent which simmered beneath, threatening to boil over,” he said. It boiled over after Mnangagwa was dismissed from the government on 6 November with the military stepping in on 15 November and Mugabe being forced to resign on 21 November. Mugabe is currently in the Far East and underwent a medical check-up on Friday. Grace was not by his side when he left the hospital. Observers say one of the reasons why Grace Mugabe wanted to become president was that she knew no one would protect her once her husband was gone.

Jonathan Moyo Thanks Mugabes For Saving Him From Being Killed, Bids Farewell ,Says He Will Be Back

Former Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education and G40 mastermind Professor Jonathan Moyo has expressed his thanks to former president Robert Mugabe and former first lady Grace Mugabe for saving him from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who he says wanted to ” kill us.” While he does not explicitly say who is part of “us” it’s certain that at least one other person that he is speaking of is former Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. Moyo once claimed that Kasukukuwere’s house was attacked by 25 Special Air Services (SAS) snipers who were firing indiscriminately. Moyo claimed that at that time, his family and that of Kasukuwere’s were hiding there. The professor also shared images of what appeared to be bloodstained tiles and walls. Moyo and Kasukuwere have not been seen in public since November 15 when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces launched Operation Restore Legacy which resulted in the fall of Mugabe after 37 years as Head of State.  The two are reported to have fled to Kenya. Moyo also said that he was going to take a break from using social media, his primary means of communication since the military intervention, as he had important things to take care of away from the online world. However, the professor promised to be back although he stressed that he was not going to come back to lead a coup. Said Moyo, speaking on Twitter:

I’ve major offline work to do away from online streets. Thanks for your prayers. Special thanks to President Mugabe & Amai Dr Mugabe for saving us when the Junta tried to kill us on 15 Nov. Kwaheri. I’ll be back, not in three weeks & not to do a coup or any violence. Asante Sana!

Zimbabwe Army Announces End Of Operation Restore Legacy

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) have today brought to finality Operation Restore Legacy handing over all policing duties to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Speaking at a media briefing, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda said the operation had, to a large extent, achieved its goals urging the general populace to support the ZRP. Lt-General Sibanda also urged the police force to do their duties diligently and called for peace as the country prepares for the 2018 harmonised elections.
Details to follow…

Tsvangirai Exposed After Catholic priest, Father Fidelis Mukonori Reveals He Sought Mnangagwa Talks

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly met Catholic priest, father Fidelis Mukonori asking him to facilitate a meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to discuss a “way forward” after last month’s military coup. The claim was made by the cleric in an interview this week about the heady days during the coup which led to the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe. A close confidant of the veteran leader, Mukonori mediated between the military and Mugabe. His account of the political manoeuvring after Mugabe’s ouster comes after the MDC-T denied its leader sought to be appointed vice president by Mnangagwa. Presidential advisor Chris Mutsvangwa was scorned by the MDC-T after publicly accusing Tsvangirai of foiling Mnangagwa’s attempt to include opposition politicians in government by demanding an influential post for himself.
The MDC-T dismissed the charge, insisting that Mnangagwa never reached out to them before announcing his government. However, Mukonori claims that it was Tsvangirai who tried, unsuccessfully, to seek a meeting with Mnangagwa before the latter appointed his Cabinet. Reports the Jesuit Review, an American magazine which interviewed the cleric this week; “He [Mukonori] has been meeting with Morgan Tsvangirai, a former prime minister who had led the opposition to Mugabe through the Movement for Democratic Change Zimbabwe. “Father Mukonori says that Tsvangirai wants to discuss a way forward for the country with the new president. But on the day of their second meeting, the newly inaugurated president announced his Cabinet.” Tsvangirai’s wish, according to the magazine, quoting Mukonori, “would have been that they discussed the issue before the new president announced his new government.” After Mugabe eventually stepped down, there was widespread expectation that Mnangagwa would likely appoint a unity government, including opposition politicians and technocrats to help stem an economic crisis that has lasted nearly two decades. However, the new Zanu PF leader disappointed those expectations, after appointing ruling party officials, military generals and a couple of technocrats to his Cabinet. Mutsvangwa later claimed that a reach-out to the opposition had been stymied by Tsvangirai who allegedly demanded to be appointed vice president. The claim was furiously denied by the MDC-T.-standard

Zimbabwe’s Hopes For A Better Future Hinges On The Last Professional Commander In The Army

Lt General SIbanda

Zimbabwe’s hopes of not completely degenerating into a military state hinges on the leadership of Lt General Phillip Valerio Sibanda. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty following the November coup, Sibanda has remained in the shadows only coming out to make statements when presiding over graduations and pass-out parades. A source within the army indicated that Sibanda was offered the position of Vice President of Zimbabwe . He however rejected the position citing that he has always been a soldier and would not be comfortable being in the political limelight. Philip Valerio Sibanda is also believed to have watered down the coup advising General Chiwenga and Emmerson Munangagwa to follow the constitutional process to get Mugabe out. “Amidst all the hullabaloo Lt General Sibanda has been the voice of reason and steady” The source added.
Amidst all the hullabaloo Lt General Sibanda has been the voice of reason and steady

There are rumors that both Mnangagwa and Gen Chiwenga are apprehensive at the posibility of elevating Lt General Sibanda to Commander of Defence Forces. They are unsure of whether he will follow through with calls to use the army to push their interests. Those who have worked with Lt General Sibanda from the liberation war times attest to his unwavering professionalism. Liberation Credentials Lt General Sibanda hails from Midlands and attended his secondary education at Marist Dete. Phillip left the country in 1973. He received military training at Morogoro under the likes of Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri. In 1974 after completing his training in Tanzania him ad four others: Elisha Gagisa (Stanely Nleya ), Elias Ndou, Abel Mazinyane and Joel Dambudzo were sent to Lebanon where they spent 9 months of rigorous training under the Palestinian Liberattion Organization at Jalub. He even saw combat against the Israelis. Upon his return In 1975 he became an instructor at the newly opened Mbwembwesi training camp in Tanzania. He was then seconded to form  part of the military commanders running Morogoro under the ZIPA. Among the Morogoro-based Zanla Commanders in Zipa were Contsantine Chiwenga (commissar), Perence Shiri and Augustine Chihuri (Stephen Chocha). From ZIPRA there was Eddie Sigoge Mlotshwa and Sam Fakazi. He also became the commander of the GC-B region. After the death of Nikita Mangena in 1978, he became camp commander for the CGT (Communist Guerrilla Training) camp, located about 60 miles east of Lusaka. He was initially appointed to the ZPRA High Command as chief of training however he swapped that position with Eddie “Sigoge” Mlotshwa for Chief Of Reconnaissance leading the Military Intelligence department. After Independence Philip Valrio Sibanda was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army at independence. He quickly rose through the ranks , by 1994 he was the only ex-ZIPRA cadre to have rose to the rank of Major-General. Between October 1995 and April 1998 he became the head of United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and subsequently MONUA (Mission d’Observation des Nations Unies à l’Angola) as the Force Commander charged with peace and national reconciliation. Sibanda was appointed Zimbabwe National Army commader in December 2003.

Lt General Phillip Valerio Sibanda Inspecting A Guard Of Honor with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Angola

Grace Mugabe Abandons 93 year Old Husband Who Appeared Lonely At Singapore Hospital

Former president Robert Mugabe apparently looked good as he left Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore yesterday but his wife Grace, who used to stand by his side in his last days as Zimbabwe’s ruler, was nowhere in the picture published by the Singapore newspaper the Straits Times. According to the newspaper, Mugabe was seen leaving the hospital lift around midday, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, and accompanied by eight people. His wife was not in any of the pictures including one in which he was emerging from the lift and another where Mugabe was getting into his car. Mugabe left for Singapore via Malaysia on Monday. The couple was expected to see their daughter Bona in Malaysia where she is expecting her second child. Mugabe resigned on 21 November when Parliament had started impeachment proceedings against him. He was also under pressure from the military which stepped in on 15 November to save the country from being hijacked by “criminals”. Mugabe missed yesterday’s special congress which endorsed his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa as the party candidate for next year’s presidential elections. He had insisted he wanted to preside over the congress, originally called to endorse him and prop his wife to vice-president, before stepping down.

Mugabe Family Struggles to Adjust After Funding Cuts

GOVERNMENT has made drastic cuts to former president Robert Mugabe’s travel expenditure after the ousted long-time leader and his family flew out of Harare to Singapore this week, nearly a month after his 37-year term came to a dramatic end following a soft military coup. This comes as it emerged that Mugabe spent US$32,1 million on foreign trips between January and September this year against an annual budget of US$20,6 million. The Office of the President and Cabinet also spent US$1,1 million on domestic travel as of September against a budget of US$650 000. Officials close to this situation also revealed the former leader’s security team at his Borrowdale “Blue Roof” mansion was also reduced from 85 to 20.
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  Sources familiar with developments at Mugabe’s mansion told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the nonagenarian was granted the presidential Air Zimbabwe aircraft (AZW1) when his family and security team left the country on Monday evening. Former first lady Grace Mugabe, the sources said, took six security personnel after resisting efforts to reduce her security details to three. It is also understood the Police Protection Unit, which provides VIP protection, withdrew its team from Mugabe’s motorcade last Friday. Following last month’s military intervention, which brought a crashing end to Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, his family had been scattered across different countries before reuniting last week. It has also got together in Singapore. According to figures obtained from the 2018 National Budget, the Office of the President and Cabinet spent US$32,1 million on foreign trips, although the trips have yielded little in tangible results for Zimbabweans. The expenditure came at a time Treasury is struggling to pay civil servants as well as finance capital projects and social service delivery. In a massive decline from the previous years, Treasury allocated US$17 million to the Office of the President and Cabinet for foreign travel and US$700 000 for domestic travel in the 2018 budget. Treasury figures show that the public sector wage bill currently accounts for 90% of government income, starving other critical sectors of funding. Mugabe flew to Singapore, where his daughter Bona, son-in-law Simba Chikore and grandson Simbanashe have been stationed since the military take-over. Bona is expecting her second child.
Mugabe’s fun-loving sons Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga were staying at their affluent Sandhurst mansion in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, until they came back last week to face reality. “AZW1 departed at 2100hrs with 18 crew and 23 passengers on Monday night. Mugabe had to compromise by allowing a smaller contingency, as well as a smaller security team, so that Grace could be allowed to travel with a six-member security team for herself. He also reduced the security team accompanying him, although Grace refused to take three security people with her. In the past he would have taken over 80 people,” a source said. “For Mugabe, he ended up flying out with three security people, although three others had already left before him. The former presidential limousine, the bullet-proof S-Class 600 Pullman, now has ordinary yellow plates and his departure was low-key given the cut in security.” The Independent also has it on good authority that Mugabe’s successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa has granted his former boss some wing at Zimbabwe House to use as his office during his retirement.
“He will use that wing to host visitors who may want to visit him during his retirement. He also has a library space that he may choose to use. Mnangagwa wants Mugabe to be as comfortable as possible during his retirement,” a security source said. The Mugabe family has a multi-million-dollar empire built around numerous farms, prime real estate, various businesses and lucrative tenders which they wrested for self-aggrandisement. The family also benefitted heavily, directly and indirectly, from public funds during Mugabe’s endless globe-trotting trips and salted away some of the money. On some occasions, the family also used public funds to acquire private assets, but their empire is now facing collapse.-AMH

Plot to Kill President Mnangagwa Foiled After Bogus CIO Is Arrested With Loaded Firearm

HARARE  – Self-styled prophet Gathry Chiredzero was busted while advancing towards President Emmerson Mnangagwa with a loaded gun and fake Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) identification at a State function, a Harare court heard yesterday. Chiredzero was charged with possession of offensive weapons at public gathering, impersonating a public official and forgery when he appeared before Harare magistrate, Rumbidzayi Mugwagwa, yesterday. He was represented by John Ndomene and will be back in court today for his bail application. Prosecutor Tatenda Murindagomo alleged that on December 4, there was an inauguration ceremony at State House for cabinet ministers.
Chiredzero was spotted near State House by the podium controlling movement of people, masquerading as a security agent. The court heard that it was later established Chiredzero had produced a fake CIO identity card at the security check point to gain entry into the State House. On December 6, there was a ceremony for renaming King George V1 Barracks to Josiah Magamba Tongogara Barracks and the programme was officiated by Mnangagwa and he arrived driving a blue BMW X5 registration numbers ADI3317. The court heard that Chiredzero approached the Zimbabwe Defence Intelligence personnel manning the main gate where he identified himself and his accomplices as CIO Close Security Unit Officers who had been deployed to beef up Mnangagwa’s security. He reportedly produced a fake CIO identity card bearing his names and was given free passage into the premises before proceeding to the hall where celebrations were in progress. It was alleged that Chiredzero then positioned himself near the podium where Mnangagwa was addressing the gathering and was intercepted by an alert military officer who inquired into his presence. The court heard that Chiredzero said he was a member of the CIO and produced the fake identity card and it was immediately established that he was impersonating a security official. When his accomplices realised that he had been caught, they quickly vanished from the scene. Chiredzero was searched and found in possession of a 38 Special Amadeo Rossi S.A revolver serial loaded with three live rounds and two spent cartridges. He also had a fake Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission identity card inscribed Government of Zimbabwe executive director, Anti-Corruption, which he claimed to have obtained from the CIO and a fake metal driver’s licence.-DN