VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa faces charges of presiding over a dead-of-the-night coup plot at his Zvishavane ‘Village Castle’ as it emerges that what he described as a family gift-opening of Christmas presents event was in fact a political gathering.
New pictures of the event show a smiling Mnangagwa, currently acting president in the absence of the holidaying President Robert Mugabe, clasping hands with ex-Zanu PF youth leader Vengai Musengi who was expelled from the ruling party for attacking First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“It turns out there was in fact a Mug Declaration! It's worse than the Tsholotsho Declaration. The evidence is overwhelming,” a Zanu PF politburo member told NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday.
An ally of the vice president retorted: “How someone can equate (Tsholotsho Declaration) to a private Christmas function is beyond comprehension.
"But, you see, when you are schemer, you think everyone else is scheming.”
The 2004 Tsholotsho Declaration again featured Mnangagwa and was also claimed to have involved a clandestine plot to engineer his take-over of power from President Mugabe.
Meanwhile, when pictures of Mnangagwa's Christmas whiskey bromance with controversial businessman and Zanu PF activist Energy Mutodi first emerged, the state-owned Herald claimed that the latter had turned up uninvited and claiming to be a member of parliament.
According to State media, Mutodi who had attacked President Mugabe on social media demanding his resignation, arrived un expected at Mnangagwa’s home around 10pm on Christmas Day and ended joining in family festivities.
But it now turns out Mutodi was not a lone gatecrasher, prompting some Zanu PF officials to accuse Mnangagwa – who held a mug inscribed ‘I’m the Boss’ in the images – of engaging in dead-of-the night treasonous plotting.
Also at the vice president’s home on the night were expelled and suspended members of the ruling Zanu PF party – most of them sanctioned for supposedly backing a party rebellion against President Mugabe.
Apart from Mutodi and Musengi, the nocturnal beeline to Zvishavane, according to the Weekly Standard newspaper, included at least two dozen activists who were either suspended or expelled by Zanu PF.
These included former Zanu PF Matabeleland South youth chairman Washington Nkomo, Edmore Samambwa (Midlands), Tawanda Mukodza (Manicaland).
They were joined by the suspended former Zanu PF chairman for Masvingo Ezra Chadzamira and Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is serving a two-year suspension in Mashonaland West.
Said a senior party official: “Now it's bare that Energy Mutodi was not a lone intruder after all. This is very serious.
“The Tsholotsho Declaration was in broad daylight, disguised as a speech and prize giving day at Dinyane High School.
“The Mug Declaration in which Mnangagwa declared himself to be the Boss and unleashed surrogates like Mutodi to spread the message of his imminent takeover took place under the cover of night, at 10pm and disguised as a family gift-opening of Christmas presents.”
Allies of the vice president scorned the charge, rejecting any parallels between his Christmas shebang with the infamous Tsholotsho meeting.
“As a person thinks so do they speak,” one of them told NewZimbabwe.com, preferring not to be identified.
“In 2004 Some plotted under the guise of a "Prize Giving Day". They came out with a Declaration which had resolutions on how they wanted the Presidium structured and the Tribal Configurations they wanted included.
“They had gathered provincial Leaders as heads of the Party's Electoral Colleges. How someone can equate this to a private Christmas function is beyond comprehension.
“If you go through the list of people who attended that function, some are relatives, others are business associates whilst others are friends to the VP's children. There is no communique or Declaration which came out of a few cheers and the clicking of glasses (some emblazoned and some plane).
“But then if you are a plotter or paranoid you will you will always see ghosts and shadows even in innocent gatherings where people are just enjoying Constitutionally enshrined freedoms of associations.”