PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday alleged a plot by Zanu PF insiders to oust him from office after agreeing to pay white commercial farmers US$3,5 billion in compensation for land expropriated by government for resettlement to landless blacks at the start of the millennium.
The Global Compensation Agreement between government and the white former commercial farmers, for improvements and equipment, signed in July had been in the works since 2016, but has met with stiff resistance, with some Zanu PF elements challenging the deal. A group of war veterans have challenged the agreement in court.
In August, Mnangagwa’s government was forced to offer land as compensation to local blacks who lost their farms during the often chaotic land reform exercise under the late former president Robert Mugabe and to companies whose farms were protected under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements.
The decision has been met with hostility from various quotas, with many accusing Mnangagwa of trying to reverse the land reform programme that allegedly empowered natives, but alienated Zimbabwe from her traditional Western donors and plunged the country into a deep economic mess.
Some war veterans, a critical wing in the ruling Zanu PF, which often views itself as the stockholder of the former liberation party, immediately accused Mnangagwa of selling out and reversing the gains made of the liberation struggle.
Mnangagwa told mourners at the burial of national hero Brigadier-General Ruphus Chigudu that he was aware of a plot by some elements “from within the party” to try to use the land issue as an excuse for regime change.
“The land has come and it has now been united with its people. It has come forever and is irreversible,” he said.
Mnangagwa was apparently referring to critics who accused him of seeking to reverse the programme that benefited millions of Zimbabweans, mostly Zanu PF supporters.
“There are those in our midst who are misreading what the government constitutionally seeks to achieve in pursuit of a narrow agenda,” he said.
“They think they have now found a credible platform for mobilising against our administration and its government. They are desperate, but let me assure you, they are bound to fail.”
Mnangagwa, who came to power through a military coup in November 2017, has claimed several plots against his rule in the three years he has been in power.
In May 2018, ahead of the July 30 elections, Mnangagwa said he had unearthed a plot by some Zanu PF MPs working with MDC Alliance to use their numbers in Parliament to impeach him.
In June, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, claimed there was a coup plot against Mnangagwa involving the opposition and civil society.
That same month, Mnangagwa admitted there were some wolves in sheep’s skins in his party.
Last week, State Security minister Owen Ncube said there were “rogue elements” that included MDC Alliance and G40 members that had been conniving with some Western nations to smuggle guns into the country and set up “democratic resistance committees” to destroy the democratic foundations of Zimbabwe.
Several MDC Alliance officials have in recent months been arrested for allegedly plotting to subvert a constitutionally-elected Zanu PF government.
Mnangagwa’s government has also accused the exiled members of the G40 faction of plotting from South Africa to oust his administration.
Zanu PF has been involved in fierce internal fights, with some members allegedly aligning themselves with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is said to be angling to take over from his boss, although he has publicly denied harbouring such ambitions.
Mnangagwa yesterday endorsed Chiwenga’s decision to suspend the holding of by-elections until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, saying there was no need to be complacent as the threat of the disease remained real.
Chiwenga, in his capacity as Health minister, last week suspended by-elections, a move that legal experts said was unconstitutional and, therefore, a nullity.
“Voting and democracy are enjoyed by the living, not by the sick nor those dying or dead,”
Mnangagwa said while urging people to observe laid down COVID-19 preventive measures.
He also said government had put security agents on high alert to curb the rise in ritual murders and armed robberies.
This came after the suspected ritual murder of a seven-year-old Murewa boy allegedly by his uncle and a domestic worker.
“Let me reiterate that all stakeholders in our justice delivery system deal with this so that this evil trend is expunged from our society,” Mnangagwa said.
“Equally worrisome are the growing cases of armed and violent crimes. We must draw lessons from the late Brigadier-General who knew the use of guns was to protect the nation.”
He said Zimbabweans should remain peaceful and united in the wake of “machinations” by the country’s detractors.
“Given the onslaught, machinations and clandestine shenanigans by our detractors, let us be united in defence of our hard won independence,” he said.
“In this regard, I commend us the people of Zimbabwe for upholding peace, harmony and love which our late national hero fought for.”
“Violence, destruction of property and making Zimbabwe ungovernable can never be democratic and it is not what we fought for.”