“I feel sorry for Mugabe; Grace took advantage of his age,” says Chinamasa

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FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa who was demoted by Robert Mugabe through a mini cabinet reshuffle in October last year says he feels sorry for his former boss as his wife Grace took advantage of former president’s old age.

Chinamasa learnt of his demotion from the finance portfolio to a hastily created cyber security ministry through the social media as he was in Washington for a crucial government meeting then.

Reflecting on his humiliation then, Chinamasa told Euromoney recently that before he left for the USA he had informed Mugabe that he was going to be away for a few days but the then president had never bothered to stop him from travelling knowing there was an impending reshuffle.

Ignatius Chombo, a leading member of the Zanu PF G40 faction and Grace’s crony, was to step in as new finance minister.

“Before I travelled, I had seen (Mugabe) and told him I’d be away for some 10 days, he said OK,” Chinamasa told Euromoney.

“Then on the first day in Washington I heard there’d been a cabinet reshuffle, it was rather more than that.”

He added, “Mugabe’s wife Grace was moving to seize control of government for her divisive Generation 40 faction of Zanu PF while plotting to succeed her nonagenarian husband as president.”

After the sacking of then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the army stepped in to depose Mugabe ending his 38 year rule.

Mnangagwa was sworn in as president with Chombo being arrested. Chinamasa was the reappointed as finance minister, to begin his third term in the same job.

According to him, Chinamasa as has not seen Mugabe since the coup.

“I feel sorry for him (Mugabe),” said Chinamasa.

He added, “He had been a man of principle, but what had happened since his wife came into the limelight clearly made him unrecognizable, the wife took advantage of his age.”

“Clearly the path that had been charted by the former first lady and her colleagues was leading to catastrophe for the country.”

Chinamasa went on, “When events started to show that things were not right, the party became active, this was an issue, which had been simmering for a long time. It was very clear we were not going anywhere, and in cabinet we had almost become dysfunctional.”

“A lot of issues we would have agreed on would be reversed elsewhere outside cabinet,” he said. “It had broken down; there was a lot of dissatisfaction, disappointment and disgruntlement throughout.”