By Kingston Ndabatei
CONFUSION reigns within President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s communications team with open disagreements playing out in the public domain between senior officials charged with the handling of government’s PR affairs.
The fissures have manifested in George Charamba and Nick Mangwana’s conflicting statements over the President’s stance on recent citizen protests and a subsequent crackdown by the country’s security forces.
Charamba was elevated to the newly created post of Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet for Presidential Communications while Mangwana moved in to take the former’s job as Permanent Secretary in the influential information ministry.
“Violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa posted on his official Twitter account this week.
Charamba, who is official presidential spokesperson, has moved to distance his boss from the statement.
He told journalists during the swearing in of substantive prosecutor general Kumbirai Hodzi that Mnangagwa was in fact the one who had disowned the concerned message.
“Just when we were in there, the President was drawing my attention to an attempt to as it were to put words into his mouth through his Twitter account. So don’t always believe that which is coming through,” Charamba said.
But the Ministry of Information, in its own Twitter handle, contradicted Charamba.
“There may be many fake accounts in HE President Mnangagwa’s name but @edmnangagwa is the legitimate voice of the President.
“Nothing goes on there but that which represents his views and positions on issues and that which he has explicitly cleared,” the Ministry said Friday.
The splitting of the presidential spokesmanship from the duties of the Information Permanent secretary saw Charamba surrender his job as head of the ministry.
Mangwana, a newcomer within government corridors as Munhumutapa building, is still struggling to assert his own authority as the ministry’s boss following years of dominance by Charamba.
Sources claim there is negative energy between the two.