FOOTBALL administrator and Zanu PF central committee member, Philip Chiyangwa, has claimed to be the brains behind the infamous 2004 Tsholotsho Declaration, adding he has always been President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “party boy” since 1994.
Addressing mourners at the late Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) deputy director, Nixon Chirinda’s funeral in Chinhoyi yesterday, Chiyangwa said the precursor to the Tsholotsho meeting, which led to the axing of several Zanu PF provincial chairpersons, was held at his rural home in Zvimba.
He said contrary to public perception that the indaba was meant to plot former President Robert Mugabe’s downfall, the agenda of the meeting was to elevate Mnangagwa to the Vice-Presidency to replace the late Simon Muzenda.
“I fought in President Mnangagwa’s corner during the Tsholotsho Declaration,” Chiyangwa said.
“Remember the meeting was held at my Zvimba rural home to elevate President Mnangagwa to replace the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda.
“In fact, I was appointed the fundraising chairperson of Zanu PF by President Mnangagwa in 1994 [and] since then, I have always been his party boy contrary to what others say.”
Chiyangwa, long considered to be closely related to Mugabe, said the initial indaba was attended by Local Government minister July Moyo, former politburo member, Jonathan Moyo, ex-war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda and National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda.
“Mugabe lied in Bindura that I wanted to replace him with President Mnangagwa, that’s not the truth . . . I wanted Mnangagwa to be elevated to the position of Vice-President,” he said.
Chirinda, who died in an horrific road accident on Saturday night, was declared a provincial liberation war hero and will be buried at Glen Forest Memorial Park in Harare on Saturday.