HOME Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe last night accused rivals in government, military and opposition of plotting to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa at an extra-ordinary Press conference while flanked by top securocrats.
With the southern African country is in the grip of its worst crisis in a decade and Mnangagwa having failed to steer the economy into a growth path since taking over from long-time ruler the late former President Robert Mugabe, Kazembe said there was a plot to remove the President and replace him with a transitional authority.
Mugabe was removed by his military chiefs in November 2017 and died a bitter man at a hospital in Singapore last September.
Kazembe was flanked by Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri, State Security minister Owen Ncube, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services boss Paradzai Zimhondi and Air Force of Zimbabwe chief Elson Moyo.
He named former Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, top government and security officials, and MDC Alliance vice-chairman Job Sikhala, among others, as those involved in the alleged plot to oust Mnangagwa.
“Government would, therefore, like, through the agents of the working committee on National Security Council as convened in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, to unequivocally debunk and dismiss these rumours with the contempt they deserve,” Kazembe said.
“The purveyors of this false coup narrative claim that former members of Zanu PF, who fell by the wayside and largely went into self-imposed exile at the advent of the new dispensation in 2017, are coming together in a united front with some named senior government leaders or members of the security forces of Zimbabwe and elements of the opposition formation,” Kazembe said.
“This is in a bid to taint the image of the President, to undermine the legitimacy of government and render the country ungovernable.”
Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017 after staging a coup against his former boss, the late former President Robert Mugabe, after decades of factional and succession wars.
The deteriorating economic situation in the country has given rise to speculation that Mnangagwa could be toppled from power before his tenure expires.
Kazembe said: “They (alleged purveyors) further claim that once the contrived coup is executed, they intend to establish a national transitional authority which will then govern Zimbabwe minus Zanu PF for an unspecified period.”
He said that was false and was not reflective of Zimbabwe’s security situation “now and in the foreseeable future”.
“Indeed, both claims of a military coup and a national transitional authority in the making amount to a mere agenda-setting by merchants of discord among our people with the support of foreign handlers,” Kazembe said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no coup in the making, nor is there any form of transitional authority or government of national unity being contemplated by the new dispensation.”
Kazembe said purveyors of such narratives remained warned and named Kasukuwere, Sikhala and “a long coterie of accomplices we are aware of not to cry foul when the long arm of the Zimbabwean law catches up with them in due course”.
He also accused the media, civic society organisations and social media actors of being used to peddle falsehoods working with some “diplomatic missions accredited to Harare”.
Kazembe said there was a well-co-ordinated plan by the named actors, including “faking abductions”, adding that the scheme had also roped in some national and international prophets, including Talent Chiwenga, whom he described as “a self-styled rabid anti-government Harare First Street preacher”.
He accused some foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe of feeding their capitals with false information.
“Some foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe have quite often not shied away from engaging in anti-government activism which renders it difficult to differentiate them from card-carrying members of the opposition,” the Home Affairs minister added.
“They have also, in the process, brazenly jettisoned a semblance of diplomatic impartiality in blatant violation of the norms of international law.”
Kazembe said Zimbabwe was stable and peaceful under the “able stewardship of President Mnangagwa and will remain pursuing the re-engagement process”.
He said such talk portraying Zimbabwe as insecure was scaring away investors, adding Mnangagwa would not be distracted by the coup rumours.
“He is working diligently, tirelessly and in absolute harmony with his two Vice-Presidents (Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi), entire Cabinet and civil service in providing servant leadership which is the hallmark of the new dispensation towards attainment of vision 2030.”
But Kasukuwere distanced himself from the accusations and said he would issue a statement today
But Kazembe said: “Government will do everything within its powers to expose and bring to book these undemocratic and subversive forces which we have perhaps for too long allowed to fester and operate freely in our midst under the guise of legitimate opposition.”
He said Zimbabwe had endured an onslaught and “hybrid warfare”, economic warfare, currency manipulation to destabilise the country.
“Indeed, the rumours of an imminent military coup alongside the incidents of fake abductions, torture and enforced disappearance and claims of a government of national unity or a national transitional authority all form an integral part of this kind of warfare,” Kazembe said.
Contacted for comment, Sikhala said he would only respond today after going through Kazembe’s statement.
However, Kazembe admitted that the country was faced with a serious crisis in the form of a failing economy which has seen the suffering of the majority of the people.
He said the crisis had affected members of the security services, civil servants and the ordinary people, adding that government was working towards improving the people’s livelihoods.
“Our security forces, contrary to the rumours, remain disciplined, loyal and dedicated to their professional mandate.”
Zanu PF, through government, has instructed the security forces to effectively deal with economic saboteurs and an invisible third hand accused of wreaking havoc.
Addressing a Press briefing soon after politburo, party acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa came short of declaring war on mobile money platform EcoCash.
“There was a robust acknowledgement that there is an invisible hand at play fomenting a regime change agenda and as a revolutionary party, we jealously guard against that … We have called upon government and law enforcement agents to stem these nefarious activities, including the eradication of EcoCash dealers,” Chinamasa said.
“The information that we have is the economic fundamentals are right, but not withstanding that the economic fundamentals are right perceptions are very negative, peddled by falsehoods,” he said.
Zanu PF politburo also agreed to fire it’s Chivi South MP Killer Zivhu, a move that would trigger a by-election in Masvingo.