Six Western nationals have been working with local non-governmental organisations led by Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe (CCiZ) to fight what they claim is “a crisis of legitimacy” following President Mnangagwa’s slim victory in the July 30 harmonised elections, state media has learnt.
The six foreigners, some of whom have already been identified, convened a week-long workshop at a private lodge in Harare earlier this month where they came up with strategies to incite Zimbabweans to revolt against President Mnangagwa and the Zanu-PF Government to force a unity Government with opposition political parties or to set up a transitional authority.
The workshop was reportedly coordinated by CCiZ chairperson Mr Rashid Mahiya and a committee member, Mr Pride Mukono, from December 3 to 7 under the theme: “The Crisis of Legitimacy in Zimbabwe.”
CCiZ spokesman Mr Tabani Moyo denied that there was such a meeting.
The workshop is said to have been attended by over 80 people from 40 civil society organisations affiliated to the Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe.
The six regime change strategists from the United States, Germany, Spain and Switzerland facilitated the workshop at which the NGOs were promised more funding “if they show maturity in organising their programmes as one entity”, said a source who refused to be identified for security reasons.
The foreigners who attended the meeting include Ms Nora Rafaeil, an American, Gerald Ordway (Spain) and Martina Zapf (Switzerland).
“The agenda of the meeting was to force the Zanu-PF Government into a GNU or a so-called Transitional Authority and they agreed that the only way to achieve that was through rallies, demonstrations and media manipulation,” said the source.
“Their belief is that these activities will result in the generality of Zimbabweans revolting against President Mnangagwa and the Zanu-PF Government,” he said.
The workshop alleged that the elections which saw President Mnangagwa narrowly beating his main challenger, MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa, and Zanu-PF winning the parliamentary polls by a two thirds majority, were rigged.
Mr Chamisa rejected the election results and took the matter to the Constitutional Court where the televised case was thrown out with costs for lack of merit.
The rigging claims are despite overwhelming endorsement of the elections by local observers except those from the West who have maintained sanctions on Zimbabwe since the turn of the millennium over its land reform.
The people who attended the workshop were drawn from various civil society organisations known to be aligned to the MDC Alliance.
Chamisa has refused to accept President Mnangagwa’s victory and threatened to organise demonstrations by his party supporters to make the country ungovernable.
The source said the workshop adopted resolutions to bring “civil society under one tent” to address the legitimacy crisis and to organise protests like what happened in 2007 under the “Save Zimbabwe Campaign” which turned violent.
“The foreign nationals that facilitated the meeting promised to provide funding for the activities of the NGOs to unite to fight the so-called legitimacy crisis in Zimbabwe,” the source added.
Mr Mahiya was tasked with spearheading the process of uniting the NGOs to achieve their objectives.
“As a strategy, civil society organisations could be used to divide the people of Zimbabwe in such a way that the masses would revolt against the Zanu-PF Government,” revealed the source.
Another meeting was planned for December 15 at the Women’s Bureau in Harare where the structures of the coalition of civic groups would be crafted.
It could not be confirmed at the time of going to print if that second meeting took place.
Efforts to get a comment from Messers Mahiya and Mukono were fruitless earlier in the week.
However, CCiZ spokesperson Mr Tabani Moyo denied any meeting ever took place, saying their role as an organisation was to push for the entrenchment of democratic rule.
“That meeting you are referring to is a work of fiction. It never happened, our chairman has never chaired such a meeting,” Mr Moyo said.
“All the meetings he has chaired are mainly hinged on pushing forward these very same values in line with our mission statement which aims to see a democratic Zimbabwe in our lifetime. So our key issues at stake are to return Zimbabwe to the rule of law through ensuring that the vagaries of November 2017 are not entrenched through the presence of the military in civilian activities,” he said.
The “supremacy of the Constitution should remain dear to our values and ethos. We will keep on insisting that whoever supports us will support us to ensure we are pushing our vision and mission statement, mainly to see a democratic Zimbabwe in our lifetime. We do not believe in overthrowing an elected regime but rather that elections by their nature are supposed to entrench democracy rather than to consolidate military rule.”
The activities by the NGOs are despite calls by President Mnangagwa for Zimbabweans to leave the elections behind and focus on rebuilding the economy.
He has consistently called for unity and peace while Government deepens political and economic reforms that will turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy by 2030. Mnangagwa has also vowed to intensify fight against corruption although no single government or ex government official has been jailed for corruption since he came to power after November 2017 military coup.