Harare – Rumours were swirling around Zimbabwe late on Saturday that vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa became suddenly ill at a youth rally addressed by President Robert Mugabe in Gwanda. And that he was, on Saturday night, flown to hospital in South Africa on a Zimbabwe Airforce plane.
One of his close political associates, Josiah Hungwe was also reportedly ill.
Well connected sources say Mnangagwa may have contracted food poisoning earlier in the day.
Others, concerned at the faction fighting within Zanu PF about who will succeed Mugabe when he dies, speculated that Mnangagwa had been poisoned.
This drama plays out after a difficult week for Mnangagwa after a Facebook site, known as First TV, published a 72-minute propaganda video compiled by one of Mnangagwa’s enemies, tertiary education minister Jonathan Moyo.
Moyo, backed by first lady Grace Mugabe and Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, appears to detest Mnangagwa. The video footage created by journalists who previously worked for Moyo on state-controlled newspapers make many allegations against Mnangagwa.
The video made many accusations against Mnangagwa and was recently presented to the Zanu PF politburo. Mnangagwa has not responded to the allegations.
He has long been associated – along with Mugabe and one or two other currently serving ministers – of being behind the massacres of thousands of opposition supporters from 1983. The opposition was then lead by liberation war hero, Joshua Nkomo, who had to escape Zimbabwe at that time to avoid being assassinated.
Many cabinet ministers have been accused of violence over the years, but Mnangagwa, who has served Mugabe one way or another for more then 50 years, was security minister during those massacres in the Matabeleland provinces from 1983 – 1987.
Mnangagwa and some colleagues within Mugabe’s present cabinet are also accused of violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change which saw hundreds killed, thousands tortured and arrested especially in the first eight years after it was launched late 1999.
Many businessmen in Zimbabwe say privately they would like to see Mnangagwa succeed Mugabe as leader because they say he understands business.
Some say he has been enriched by private dealings in gold and other minerals. But all ministers, including Moyo are widely accused of various acts of corruption.
60 MDC Alliance youths reoccupy Harvest House as Khupe faces rebellion
‘We have just recovered Harvest House. It was a nice and clean retake’
Up to 60 MDC Alliance youths entered the party’s Harvest House headquarters in central Harare on Sunday night, four months after the building was occupied by the rival MDC-T party with the help of security services.
The youths told said that they had “found each other” with a section of the youth leadership loyal to MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe.
“We have just recovered Harvest House. It was a nice and clean retake,” an MDC Alliance youth leader said from inside the building, asking not to be named because he said all would be explained at a virtual news conference at 10h00 on Monday.
Paul Gorekore, the MDC-T’s current youth chairman for Harare province, is believed to have facilitated the latest occupation, accusing Khupe of “aiding the suffering of the masses” through working with Zanu PF.
MDC Alliance youth chairman for Harare Denford Ngadziore is understood to have also entered Harvest House and will address Monday’s news conference.
In a brief statement, Gorekore said: “MDC-T Harare province (2014 structures) has taken over control of the party HQ tonight. This has been necessitated by our realisation of the need to unite the people in the fight for a better Zimbabwe.
“We as the youths have decided to go beyond our differences and unite to resolve the current crisis. We have been concerned by recent developments where the party (MDC-T) has been infiltrated by some Zanu PF elements battling to destroy the people’s movement thereby aiding the suffering of the masses.”
The youths said they had taken contingency measures, including changing locks and using chains to fortify the entrances.
Previous attempts by the MDC Alliance leadership to take back the building saw the party’s deputy leaders Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore being arrested. The youths said they expected police and the military to try and reclaim the building for Khupe. The military has previously denied facilitating the initial occupation.
The leadership of the MDC Alliance party has been disputed since a March Supreme Court judgement which said the party’s leader Nelson Chamisa was illegitimate for failing to follow the party constitution when he succeeded founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.
The court said Khupe, having been elected as Tsvangirai’s sole deputy at a previous congress held in 2014, should have assumed interim charge pending an extraordinary congress.
But by the time that judgement was delivered, Chamisa had led the MDC Alliance into an election in which he narrowly lost to Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa. Khupe took part in the elections in July 2018 as leader of the MDC-T.
Khupe has used the judgement, which the MDC Alliance says was engineered by Zanu PF, to assert herself as leader of the MDC-T party, and also the Alliance, while moving to claim the party’s properties as well as funding due to it from the government.
Despite winning just two seats in parliament through proportional representation, she is now claiming leadership of over 100 MDC Alliance lawmakers and hundreds of councillors across the country. Those who reject her leadership have been recalled, including 24 MPs and Senators and dozens of councillors.
Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T takes over the MDC Alliance name
Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T says it has adopted the MDC Alliance brand with immediate effect and will use the name when nominating candidates for by-elections on October 9.
This was revealed by the MDC-T acting chairman Morgen Komichi on Saturday. He was speaking at the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, formerly Harvest House to mark the 21st anniversary of the original MDC.
However, in a statement posted on Twitter, the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa insisted on its identity and vowed to settle the “battle” politically. The statement read:
We are the MDC Alliance. We contested the 2018 election as the MDC Alliance under the Presidency of Nelson Chamisa.
Our members were unlawfully recalled on account of being members of the MDC Alliance. This battle will be settled politically.
Political power lies in the people.
The development did not come as a surprise as George Charamba, who is the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), in July hinted that the Khupe-led party will take over the MDC Alliance name.
Charamba made the stunning revelations on July 20th this year during an exchange with MDC Alliance secretary for elections Jacob Mafume.
Mafume had mocked ZANU PF and its leaders for allegedly trying to create a coalition government with Khupe’s MDC-T.
But Charamba, in typically abrasive fashion, hit back at Mafume, telling him that Khupe has taken over the opposition party and very soon, Chamisa will lose even the name of the party. Charamba retorted:
Except you have no party while pretending to be in organized opposition!!! Khupe amhanya nechinhu!! (she is now in the driving seat). Very soon you will be interdicted from using MDC-Anything!!! Watch the space!!!
United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean academic, Alex Magaisa, who has been urging the MDC Alliance to drop the “toxic” MDC brand and adopt a new name, said:
What has just happened should not shock anyone who has been following the MDC saga. It was foreseeable and it was written. The most important question is the response, which should be ready. There has never been a better time to demonstrate that people do not vote for party names.
War vets sue Mnangagwa over US$3,5 billion land compensation deal
A WAR veterans group has taken President Emmerson Mnangagwa to court seeking the nullification of the recently signed US$3,5 billion deal by government and commercial white farmers who lost their land during the country’s violent land reform process in the past two decades.
They are seeking to interdict Mnangagwa from implementing the agreement touted as the legendary deal that will bring finality to the country’s longstanding land question.
Mnangagwa on July 29 this year approved the billion-dollar compensation deal arguing it would bring to finality the emotive land issue as envisaged by the country’s constitution.
In an application now before the High Court, the War Veterans Pressure Group have sued the government over the deal.
The litigants are group national chair Amos Sigauke, Kossam Mutsinze, Shoorai Nyamangondo, Daphine Kanoti, Dadirai Njitimana, Rueben Zulu, Joseph Chinguwa, Hazvinei Machingura, Cairo Mhandu, Digmore Ndiya and Godfrey Gurira.
Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and representatives of the Commercial Farmers Union are also cited as respondents.
Sigauke and his co-applicants argue that Mnangagwa’s administration rushed to address the grievances of “white settlers” at a time the former fighters were yet to receive full compensation for the contributions and losses incurred during the liberation struggle.
“Since independence in 1980, the indigenous black race of Zimbabwe has been making futile representations to the government demanding necessary arrangements for subsequent payment of compensations for the various sufferance occasioned upon them by and during direct rule of the occupying force, the white race, including the return of their land to them,” Sigauke submitted.
The applicants added: “In short, the government as both led by the late Robert Mugabe and (now) Emmerson Mnangagwa has not seemed bothered to address positively the issue of indigenous black race’s compensation for the ills they suffered as a direct consequence of government or its agents’ actions.”
He said they were shocked to learn that the government had reached the decision to compensate white former farmers.
“It was therefore with shock and dismay that the genuine progressive war veterans, in particular those newly resettled on former settler occupied farms, on July 29 received news that the government, through Masuka and Ncube had entered into an exclusive compensation deed.”
It is the applicants’ contention that the global compensation deed would negatively impact the development of Zimbabwe because it left out key stakeholders in the form of the majority. This, the veterans argue, is tantamount to discrimination which effectively contravenes the rule of law.
Sigauke added that the government’s actions were void and unlawful because the Constitution provided that compensation can only proceed through an Act of Parliament.
The case is yet to be heard.