Chimuti chatorwa: 'The stick has been taken away from Mnangagwa by army'

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FORMER Zanu-PF propagandist Professor Jonathan Moyo is convinced that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on his way out.

In an interview with the Sunday Times of South Africa, Moyo expressed his opinions on a range of matters, from Mugabe and Mnangagwa to how the late Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was robbed of victory.

Professor Jonathan Moyo

Read the interview below:

Q: Who are the real decision makers in Zimbabwe now and what are their interests?

A: He has become a hostage president. The talk is that “chimuti chatorwa” (the stick has been taken away) from Mnangagwa. So no, Mnangagwa is no longer in charge.

So, who is in charge? In a worrying sense, the country is on autopilot. Important decisions are not being made. By and large, cabinet ministers are conspicuous by their silence and inaction. They’re in a do-nothing mood. The government is in a state of uncertainty and fear reminiscent of the run-up to Mugabe’s last days in 2017. There’s a palpable wait-and-see attitude.

And businesses, NGOs and individuals are now banking in Botswana – in a massive vote of no-confidence in the Zimbabwean banking system. For the same reason, free funds from the diaspora are also increasingly being remitted to Botswana where they are collected by their Zimbabwean recipients.

The fact that the country is on autopilot and that this is due to Mnangagwa’s anticipated exit, makes the prevailing situation pretty dangerous.

Q: What were the most difficult things you did and regret doing when you were Mugabe’s information minister?

A: Nothing. As information minister I did things that I felt needed to be done and I did them with a clean conscience. I was removed from the information portfolio in 2015 because I flatly refused to do things that Mnangagwa, his clansmen and cronies wanted me to do in aid of his succession ambitions.

But I do regret that others, especially but not only in the security sector, did abominable things, including arresting journalists and deporting some in my name. I know of a number of instances, too many to mention, where some journalists who are among my best friends would be arrested and those arresting them would blatantly lie that they were sent by me.

Otherwise, I believe in the power of argument. I’m not afraid of any argument or any challenging or different idea. I win or lose in the realm of discourse.

Q: You still have cordial communication with people within or close to Zanu-PF. So, are there any inside the party who want to see real change in the sense of returning political power to civilian systems?

A: Save for Mnangagwa, his clansmen and cronies, there are no strong anti-army sentiments in Zanu-PF. There’s no broad-based view in Zanu-PF that the army has failed or that political power should be returned to what you describe as civilian systems. No. To the contrary, the dominant position in Zanu-PF is that the army is not only part of the party but that it is the best part which gives Zanu-PF its strength and alleged invincibility.

Q: How can you describe the relationship between President Mnangagwa and vice-president Constantino Chiwenga right now?

A: Despite a well-choreographed public show of their purported oneness or togetherness as one, their relationship is now best described as like that of oil and water. When Chiwenga was indisposed and hospitalised in China for a prolonged period, Mnangagwa sought to clip his wings and to blunt his influence in the army, government, Zanu-PF and corruption cartels.

Amateurish attempts were made to seek Chiwenga’s replacement as Zanu-PF vice-president, with some of Mnangagwa’s close allies openly campaigning for the post ahead of the party’s Goromonzi annual Zanu-PF conference. Chiwenga’s return from China was a major disruptor.

A notable incident after the disruptive return from China is Chiwenga’s meeting with Mnangagwa at the latter’s farm in Kwekwe. I will be very surprised if books are not written about that under-reported meeting where Chiwenga was able to tell Mnangagwa that the security forces say the security situation in the country has dangerously deteriorated to levels where they can no longer guarantee the security of political leaders, including that of Mnangagwa himself.

Q: You are in exile. Obviously, your location is a “secret”, but at one time there was a picture of you taken from a residential compound that went viral. Besides the November 2017 raid at your house are there any close-shave incidents where they have tried to take you out or arrest you?

A: I don’t think my location is a secret, but I will leave it at that. Otherwise, yes there have been a number of hair-raising encounters that have shocked the hell out of me. For security reasons I’m not at liberty at the moment to recount those incidents in a public context such as this interview.

Q: Does MDC president Nelson Chamisa have presidential qualities and what are they, since in your view Mnangagwa is not presidential material?

A: Yes, Nelson Chamisa is presidential material. The qualities include the important fact that, unlike Mnangagwa who has publicly declared that he finds it very difficult, if not impossible, to be humble, Chamisa is by definition humble. Humility is both the foundation and fountain of engagement. You cannot engage others or dialogue with them, especially your political opponents, if you are not humble.

Q: How many real coup scenarios did Robert Mugabe survive during his 37-year rule, and which are those?

A: This is clearly a dissertation question whose complete and accurate response can only come from thorough, verified and peer-reviewed research that would have to distinguish real coup scenarios, as you call them, from assassination attempts.

I’m sure that such a study would show that, during Mugabe’s 37-year rule, there were far more assassination attempts than foiled military coups; and further, the study would also show that, based on what’s in the public domain, of the six attempted coups against Mugabe and the seventh that deposed him, Mnangagwa was involved in all of them.

The first coup scenario was in 1980 when Mnangagwa conspired with Dan Stannard, who served the CIO in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, and other Rhodesian and South African interests in a failed coup against Mugabe whom they caused to flee the country to Mozambique where they wanted him to remain indefinitely under the fear of being targeted by Rhodesian coup plotters.

The second coup scenario which involved Mnangagwa was in the 2002 presidential election when then Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, read his infamous “straightjacket” statement whose import was to declare that the army would not accept an election result that did fit within its construct. This was a coup scenario in that it pre-empted a presidential election which Morgan Tsvangirai was set to win.

The third coup scenario was in January 2003 and it involved Mnangagwa and Colonel Lionel Dyck, with claims that they had drafted Tsvangirai into the scenario which sought to exile Mugabe.

The fourth coup scenario is said to have been the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration in November 2004 which involved Mnangagwa and the late General Amoth Norbert Chingombe and some six or seven Zanu-PF provincial chairmen.

The fifth coup scenario featuring Mnangagwa was in June 2007 and involved at least 400 or so military men, many of whom were slaughtered.

The sixth coup scenario was in the 2008 presidential election runoff in which the military, politically led and coordinated by Mnangagwa, unleashed an unprecedented orgy of violence across the country to stop Tsvangirai and to keep Mugabe in office as a hostage president in preparation for a Mnangagwa takeover supported by the army.

And the seventh coup scenario is the November 2017 putsch that deposed Mugabe.

As I mentioned earlier, information on these coup scenarios is in the public domain.

The scenarios do not include a number of assassination attempts on Mugabe over a 37-year period.

— Sunday Times


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