HARARE - Analysts say the time may have come for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to publicly distance himself from controversial musician-cum-politician Energy Mutodi, whose social media postings are getting wackier by the day.
At the same time, there are increasing questions about Mutodi’s mental and emotional state after the discredited would-be businessman, also a self-confessed follower of Mnangagwa, spun yet another cranky plot on his Facebook page at the weekend, claiming that the VP was targeted for assassination by a prominent local businessman.
In his latest posting, Mutodi claimed that an alleged “close ally of Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, businessman Frederick Mutanda” had since last year been plotting to assassinate Mnangagwa.
Both Mphoko and Mnangagwa were not picking up calls yesterday to respond to Mutodi’s wild allegations.
Asked by the Daily News yesterday to elaborate on his claims, Mutodi said the post was a “work of intelligence whose origin cannot be questioned”.
“What I have written is what is obtaining and what we have gathered. Anyone who wants to challenge that can go ahead and do that,” Mutodi said, further asking a rhetorical question, “If you say I’m bootlicking, whose boot will I be licking?”
Writing on his Facebook page, Mutodi claimed that at the core of the alleged plot to kill Mnangagwa was “the succession issue as well as Gukurahundi”.
“According to documents that are now in our possession, Frederick Mutanda approached former MDC-T treasury-general Roy Bennett in Fourways, South Africa, where he told him of his intention to assassinate Mnangagwa for what he said were unwarranted arrests and malicious Exchange Control crimes which were levelled against him at the direction of the VP in post-independence Zimbabwe.
“During the meeting, Mutanda who intimated that he had served as chief bodyguard to the late VP Dr Joshua Nkomo emphasised the need to avenge sufferings he endured from Mnangagwa. He said he had been victimised by Mnangagwa for trying to expose the role he had played in the Gukurahundi killings as well as that of the President.
“Mutanda also briefed Bennett how he had lost millions of dollars after the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) bank auctioned off his personal property and goods held at Caps Holdings under the orders of VP Mnangagwa.
“Mutanda then promised Bennett that he would help him recover his lost farmland in Chimanimani provided he helped him fight and oust Mnangagwa because he was sure that VP Mphoko was going to be the next president as they would strategically remove President Mugabe from power after tactfully isolating him from his strong and staunch supporters.
“Mutanda further mentioned that there is no way Mphoko will not be President as they have a good link with Russians and the South African government who will help them in getting rid of President Mugabe as soon as Mnangagwa is eliminated.
“However Roy Bennet turned him down, mentioning he did not believe him and his plans. He suspected Mutanda could have been an imposter and CIO operative. Mutanda further met Roy for the second and third time but was again told off as the former MDC-T legislator emphasised that he was no longer interested in politics and was focusing on his life and family.
“Mutanda, who is said to be married to the late Joshua Nkomo’s daughter who was divorced by former Minister Francis Nhema is said to have disclosed in further meetings with different people that he was working with Professor Jonathan Moyo and Vice President Mphoko himself to make sure that Mnangagwa was blocked from taking over from President Mugabe.
“He added that Mphoko would work with a Mthwakazi Liberation Front party to keep the Gukurahundi issue alive in Matabeleland while Professor Moyo would use Zimpapers and other media houses to discredit Mnangagwa.
“He also added that under the grand plan, which would be kept away from Mashonas such as Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwawo who may spill the beans due their ethnic backgrounds and closeness to Ngwena, newspapers would first accuse Mnangagwa as being at the centre of Gukurahundi atrocities while exonerating Mugabe so as to win the President’s support or at least make him indifferent. They would also issue radio station licenses to their loyalists where campaigns against VP Mnangagwa will be executed. He added that when public support for Mnangagwa waned, a plan to assassinate him would be put into action whereby he would be shot in Bulawayo while attending a Bosso-Dembare challenge match in honour of Gushungo’s AU and SADC chairmanship.
“The shooting would be publicised as a Gukurahundi revenge act and when it happens, the VP would be in the company of his Shona-speaking peers such as Saviour Kasukuwere who would not have been briefed of the plot. In the long term plan, when the team would have succeeded to pull down both Mnangagwa and President Mugabe, Phelekezela Mphoko would serve only one term, becoming Africa’s new hero after Nelson Mandela.
“Albert Matapo would be appointed Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces while Emmanuel Marara would head the ZNA. Moyo will then take over from Mphoko as President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces,” the eccentric Mutodi claimed.
Jonathan Moyo and Bennett could also not be reached yesterday to comment on the claims.
Mutodi’s latest controversial tall tale follows a number of such conspiracy theories that the prominent but controversial Zanu PF member has penned in recent months, as the ruling party’s brutal factional and succession wars continue to worsen.
Writing similarly on his Facebook page earlier this year, he sensationally claimed that Mnangagwa would succeed President Robert Mugabe in March — three months ago, which has not happened.
He also claimed that First Lady Grace Mugabe would become VP when Mnangagwa succeeded Mugabe. In addition, Mutodi alleged that former VP Joice Mujuru’s allies were behind a plan to poison Mugabe, in a bid to force a Zanu PF extra-ordinary congress that would see the former Zanu PF number two bouncing back from the political wilderness.
Most of Mutodi’s posts raise a lot of social media chatter, amid accusations that they are worsening Zanu PF’s infighting.
Analyst Eldred Masunungure said Mutodi was desperately seeking the attention of Zimbabwe’s political bigwigs in a bid to launch his career.
“It doesn’t appear to me to be a serious allegation. It’s amateurish and too simplistic. The tribal card is there but it doesn’t work like that in Zimbabwe. I doubt VP Mphoko would already be planning to assassinate VP Mnangagwa. He is trying to build a political future for himself but I don’t think that’s a sustainable way,” he said.
Another analyst said it was time Mnangagwa distanced himself from Mutodi, more so as the controversial musician claimed to be a close follower of the VP.
“There is a real risk now that this fellow will soon sully Mnangagwa’s standing if he is allowed to continue ranting madly as he is doing, supposedly to the benefit of the vice president. It is also time that law enforcement agents took him to task for misusing social media and spreading evident lies,” he said.
Virtually all the people who commented on Mutodi’s latest claim on his Facebook page savaged him, calling the conspiracy theory insane and contrived.