Itai Mushekwe/Mary-Kate Kahari
COLOGNE/HARARE– Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, is increasingly set to finish off beleaguered President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential term, through a vicious military coup said to likely involve foreign hands and players, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.
According to diplomatic sources and a Zimbabwean banker now based abroad, hardline securocrats in Chiwenga’s camp, now want him to be the country’s president, and that he steps in to finish off Mnangagwa’s term between 2020-2023, before handing over power to a successor of his choice, who will contest the next presidential plebiscite on a Zanu PF ticket as a civilian leader, with the alleged blessing and orchestration of China.
Chiwenga who is in Beijing seeking medical treatment for the past months, is believed to have made sound recovery, and thought to be plotting Mnangagwa’s exit from Asia, together with his allies in the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which he chairs.
JOC is a shadowy quasi military organ, bringing together the nation’s military-security complex which includes the army, and its military intelligence wing and Presidential Guard, Air Force, Police, Prisons and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to manage homeland and foreign security affairs.
Last week, Chiwenga, was reported to have fired some of his security aides, drawn from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), fearing that they were spying on him and giving his political rivals, including Mnangagwa, information and updates on his recovery, as the nitty-gritty plans to oust the Zanu PF leader gather pace, it might seem.
Spotlight Zimbabwe, can reveal that Chiwenga’s security is now a close guarded secret of the Chinese government and an elite unit from Zimbabwe’s military intelligence.
Mnangagwa’s tenure officially expires in about 3 years and 3 months time, as the next elections for the highest office in the land are due no later that July 2023.
“Another vicious coup is brewing in Zimbabwe, meant to transport your vice president to the presidency,” said a South Korean diplomat who preferred anonymity because of the sensitive subject. “The Chinese are behind it, although they’ll will not confirm it. They played a hidden hand in the November 2017 coup, and were asked for explicit permission by the then Zimbabwe military boss, who is now VP to go ahead with removing Mugabe. They trust him, and perhaps wanted him to get some grooming and experience of statecraft, by allowing him to play second fiddle to Mnangagwa. Now the situation has changed, and I gather they’ll sponsor him to remove Mnangagwa, just like he did with Mugabe, because the current leader is putting their foreign policy in Zimbabwe at risk, from you know who?”
The diplomat said there was more to Chiwenga’s stay in China than meeets the eye.
“China has a lot to lose in Zimbabwe should there be political change or a transitional administration with the opposition, as is being mooted by Church leaders. That is a red flag. Furthermore, China is not the only one who want Mnangagwa out. The Russians and Indians are warming up to the idea and want him out. There’s more to your vice president’s stay in China than meets the eye, and it is clearly now beyond medical.”
In what many see as Mnangagwa’s coup proofing scheme, replete with his political DNA, on Tuesady Churches called for the suspension of elections in Zimbabwe for seven years.
Addressing journalists in the capital, the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) secretary general Rev Kenneth Mtata said was the belief of the church that all political players should join hands in fixing the national crisis.
“We, the leaders of the ZHOCD made up of Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, United Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and Zimbabwe Council of Churches, met at the Africa Synod House on October 7, 2019 to consider the currently unfolding national crisis in its totality and to propose what we believe is a comprehensive but sustainable solution to it,” said Mtata.
“We have prayerfully come to the conclusion that in light of the current political paralysis, deepening mistrust and the economic decline, the nation will need to take a bold decision to address the root causes of the our national challenges that have a very long history and will not be fully resolved by one entity. In this light we are calling the nation to Sabbath on all political contestation for a period of seven years to allow for the rebuilding of trust and confidence, reset our politics and chart a shared way forward towards a comprehensive economic recovery path in a non-competitive political environment.”
Intelligence and defence sources said Chiwenga has already indicated his choice of successor to China, together with the vice presidents to assist the new president in the aftermath of having finished Mnangagwa’s term.
“Everyone in our circle knows that CGDN (Chiwenga’s first names in short) is coming in,” the sources said. “Who doesn’t want to be president and is only content with being the second in charge? CGDN is the next president without doubt, should his health not fail him. The Chinese are doing everything in their power to make him fully strong again, because he’s their most prized political asset in this country. Chiwenga has indicated to China, that he only wants a few years in office to reconfigure the country’s and Zanu PF leadership, thus explaining why he will finish off Mnangagwa’s term. Chiwenga has also named, former cabinet minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, as his chosen successor, and that former central bank governor, Gideon Gono, becomes one of the two vice presidents because of his economic expertise. The other VP will come from the military ranks, and is most likely going to be current Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda.”
The Zimbabwean banker did not beat around the bush, saying Mnangagwa has had an unofficial falling out with BRICS member states, because of his so called new dispensation policy thrust, seen as an open threat to their interests in Zimbabwe, especially China, after his administration started courting public relations firms in recent times to re-engage Harare with Washington and Brussels.
BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC”, before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
“There is a bigger game at play on Zimbabwe involving superpowers,” said the banker from his base in Asia yesterday by telephone.
“Mnangagwa’s economic brains from the finance ministry, is pushing for re-engagement with Washington and Brussels, which has offended Beijing because they have literally kept Zimbabwe running. Furthermore Harare has overlooked BRICS and is in favour of the Group of Seven (G7) to lend us loans, credit lines and even an economic package, which could explain why China, Russia and even South Africa have declined to give Mnangagwa any economic bailout. Mnangagwa is ratcheting up efforts to secure a financial bailout with G7, and obviously China and other Brics members have intelligence on the matter. There’s even a delegation being reportedly put together by Mnangagwa’s advisors to attend the 46th G7 summit, to be held in 2020 in the United States while it holds the presidency of the G7, if he’s still going to be in office by then to lobby for funding and the economic bailout. So it must not come as a surprise if Mnangagwa is pushed out of power by China, because they have everything to lose in Zimbabwe, with his dodgy politics.”
G7 is an international intergovernmental economic organization consisting of the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Mnangagwa was in Moscow in January this year during a tour of Eurasia, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Zanu PF leader tried in vain to secure economic loans from Putin.
It is not clear why Russia decided against Mnangagwa’s loan request, and why she is reportedly warming up to Mnangagwa’s exit from power.
Foreign media reported that, during the November 2017 army putsch, the late former President Robert Mugabe, reached out to Putin to help quash the coup that deposed him, through former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko, but the plan did not work because African leaders did not prefer that route.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba’s mobile phone was going to voice mail, when we sought an official comment. Charamba is also thought to have travelled with Mnangagwa for the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France.
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