WASHINGTON — Exiled former Zimbabwean information minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, claims that factionalism continues to ravage Zanu PF and that the Zimbabwe Defence Force has allegedly dumped President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the southern African nation crippled by hyperinflation.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay newspaper, Moyo claimed that the return of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga from a four-month medical treatment in China, has left the ruling party in disarray with indications that the country is now a Chinese puppet.
Moyo told the newspaper that it was surprising that Chiwenga reportedly arrived in Zimbabwe last week aboard a Chinese plane and was met at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by only the Chinese deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe and the former army general’s relatives.
Professor Moyo, who fled Zimbabwe when the Zimbabwe Defence Force removed then president Robert Mugabe in a defacto military coup in 2017, claimed that Chiwenga’s return indicates that factionalism in the ruling party is getting out of hand.
Professor Moyo belonged to a faction of the party known as Generation 40, which wanted then State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramai and not Mnangagwa, to succeed Mugabe.
“What happened has no precedence, save perhaps in banana republics. And the fact that it happened the way it did, has certified Zimbabwe as a banana republic. You cannot have the senior vice-president, who had been away critically ill and was receiving treatment in China for some five months, returning on a special Chinese plane to be received by China’s deputy ambassador in Harare, who was head of the welcoming party with no government or ruling party officials. That’s unheard of. The inescapable impression, if not reality, is that China was demonstrating its muscles and exposing Zimbabwe as a Chinese puppet.”
He claimed that things have fallen apart in Zimbabwe. “… There’s now a shell of a government with no centre … So, the return of a well-made up and well-groomed Chiwenga, with a presidential look, has turned things upside down in the corridors of power. A different power matrix is definitely loading, and the question is not whether it will materialise, but how it will do so and when.”
He claimed that Zanu PF is collapsing and the ruling party has been abandoned by the Zimbabwe Defence Force that propelled it to power two years ago.
“I think Zanu PF is imploding. The writing is on the wall that Zanu PF has lost the army or that the army has lost interest in Zanu PF.”
He further questioned Mnangagwa’s leadership qualities, claiming that he is very unpopular in Zimbabwe.
“… He’s not a leader. But of course, Mnangagwa wants to be a leader, apa haana vanhu (yet he has no support) … The problem for Mnangagwa is that he has no base: He no longer has support in Parliament, no support in Zanu PF, save for his clansmen, no support in the army and no support in the business community.”
At the same time, he claimed that Chiwenga does not have a strong political base. “On the other hand, Chiwenga has a base in the army and he campaigned for the Zanu PF Members of Parliament. But, like Mnangagwa, Chiwenga does not have the popular support of the people.
“In fact, Chiwenga is seen as the mastermind of the electoral theft of the presidential election from which Mnangagwa benefited after losing to MDC leader Nelson Chamisa.”
He regretted that he was part of the Zimbabwean government after the 2013 harmonized elections, claiming that it was clear during that time that Zanu PF factionalism was worsening.
Professor Moyo said at least he managed to warn Mugabe about the political crisis in the ruling party before the president was toppled by the army.
“In 2013, there was no longer a government. Things had fallen apart. Government business had become succession business …”
He could not reveal his current base and distanced himself from a new movement dubbed #TysonWabantu, campaigning for exiled former Zanu PF secretary for administration, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is harboring presidential ambitions.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba and Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.
Professor Moyo was targeted by the army in 2017, which claimed that some so-called criminals were surrounding Mugabe, who was no longer in a position to exercise the duties of a president due to old age.