By Robert Tapfumaneyi
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa told former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe he feared hanging by his predecessor if he heeded the latter’s call to return home and be reinstanted as Vice President, days after his sacking as Vice President 2017.
This was revealed Saturday by exiled former cabinet minister, Walter Mzembi who also claimed troubled Vice President Constantino Chiwenga rejected appointment as VP by Mugabe during the tense period the now late leader was under military siege at his Harare mansion.
Chiwenga, as Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander at the time, led the shock coup which ended Mugabe’s near four decade long rule.
The military staged the coup while claiming Mugabe was protecting cronies who committed crimes and was nolonger in control of the national economy, a situation they insisted exposed the country to civil unrest.
But Mzembi says Chiwenga now realises he was used as a pawn by Mnangagwa who always had presidential ambitions.
“I don’t believe Chiwenga wanted Mugabe out per se, was deceived by the cunning Serpent (Mnangagwa) to a point of no return,” wrote Mzembi Saturday on twitter.
“Observing his mannerisms as VP and aloofness from current mess, I see a man with more Q than As, more regrets re-dragging Army into this failure.”
Mzembi, once Mugabe blue-eyed boy, spent the longer period of his government life as tourism minister, but was later appointed to foreign affairs.
During his short period as the country’s top-most diplomat, Mzembi said he got busy during the last days of Mugabe’s tenure trying to clean up the mess that had been created by his boss’s ill-advised expulsion of Mnangagwa as deputy.
During the tense coup period, the South African government dispatched representatives to Zimbabwe to hear the concerns of the military and those of Mugabe, who was holed up in his Blue-Roof mansion.
“I was involved in bringing up two Security Ministers from RSA as FAM, the minutes of their meeting and the demands from then CDF Chiwenga do not reflect a burning desire to see Mugabe go,” he said.
“It was Mugabe himself who underplayed the crisis and the ministers flew back.
“Hours later he asked if they could come back again, the situation had reached another level, but I read him the minutes of what he (Chiwenga) had said to the RSA Ministers on the phone.
“And we agreed to escalate issue to SADC Troika, I worked very hard with and Foreign Ministers in the Region were keen on an amicable compromise which we tabled after RG had capitulated to Impeachment threats.
“It would have healed the country and taken it on a completely different thrust from where we are headed.”
Following his sacking, Mnangagwa skipped the country into South Africa where he continued his communication with the military back home.
Mzembi also said Mugabe had phoned Mnangagwa in good faith and asked him to come back home and be reinstated as both party and government vice president as well as allow congress to choose his successor.
“But crookie (Mnangagwa) had already smelt blood and the lure of office, he refused, actually wrote a refusal letter,” he said.
“Mugabe phoned me ‘aramba toita sei’ (he has refused, what do we do), do we appoint another VP?’.
“What did he (Mnangagwa) say, I asked RG (Mugabe)? Ati munoda kundisungirira nekatambo muhuro (he said you want to hang me).
“We explored names for VP, and Chiwenga and Bonyongwe’s names came up, we settled for Chiwenga but again according to RG, he refused even the President slot, when RG offered.
“So, this is the basis of my assertion that there are more Qs than As in the mind of the General.
“He preferred kuti Shumba (Mnangagwa) vapinde, how magnanimous but the country has paid the ultimate price of misgovernance.”