and Mugove Tafirenyika
SENIOR STAFF WRITERS
©️ SECURITY chiefs yesterday dismissed talk of a pending military coup against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government — warning that they will descend heavily on all the purveyors of such information, the Daily News reports.
In addition, they also warned former senior Zanu PF officials and leading opposition figures that authorities would catch up with them for continuing to make “reckless utterances”.
This comes as Mnangagwa himself also blew his gasket yesterday, accusing political foes of trying to make Zimbabwe ungovernable — before also issuing a strong warning that security agents would descend on them heavily.
“The government … has noted, with grave concern, a recent upsurge in rumours suggesting an imminent military coup d’état in the country.
“Government would, therefore, like — through the agency of the working committee of the National Security Council (WCNSC), as convened here in terms of Section 209 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20), Act 2013 — to unequivocally debunk and dismiss these rumours with the contempt they deserve,” Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe told journalists during a briefing last night after the securocrats met.
The meeting comprised security chiefs drawn from all key agencies — including the police, army, airforce, prisons and correctional services and State security — who used to converge under the Joint Operations Command (JOC), now referred to as the National Security Council.
“The purveyors of this false coup narrative claim that former members of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF), who fell by the wayside and largely went into self-imposed exile at the advent of the new dispensation in November 2017, are coming together in a united front with some named senior government leaders … members of the security forces of Zimbabwe and elements of the opposition formations.
“This is in a bid to taint the image of his Excellency the president, to undermine the legitimacy of the government and render the country ungovernable.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no coup in the making, nor is there any form of Transitional Authority or inclusive government that is contemplated by the new dispensation, except in the fertile imagination of the purveyors of this false narrative,” Kazembe said further.
“Government would like to sternly warn the purveyors of these medley falsehoods — who include such characters as Saviour Kasukuwere, Job Sikhala and a coterie of their accomplices who we are aware of — not to cry foul when the long arm of Zimbabwean law catches up with them in due course.
“They peddle this false narrative through opposition-aligned and electronic media, including such non-attributable Internet-based platforms as Gambakwe Media, Nehanda Radio, Zim Eye, various anti-government hash tags and thousands of trolls.
“There is quite a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) which have also enlisted onto the illegal subversive bandwagon under the control of certain diplomatic missions accredited to Harare,” Kazembe added.
“This narrative, which also sets an agenda for and promotes negative political activism, including co-ordinated fake abductions and media campaigns has roped in several self-proclaimed local and international prophets,” he said further.
This comes after the military staged a popular coup which ended the ruinous reign of the late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017 — as the country’s economic state began to deteriorate precipitously, amid escalating ugly Zanu PF factional and succession wars.
It also comes as Zimbabwe is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, which has been exacerbated by the deadly effects of the global coronavirus pandemic and the regional drought that has left millions of people in the country facing starvation.
Despite showing early signs of efforts to turn around the economy, which had suffered from years of corruption and mismanagement under Mugabe, Mnangagwa and his lieutenants are now finding the going tough.
So deep are the country’s economic problems that the hapless Zim dollar — which was prematurely and ill-advisedly re-introduced by under-fire Finance minister Mthuli Ncube last year — is collapsing spectacularly, which, in turn, has triggered steep price increases of basic consumer goods.
Meanwhile, a bristling Mnangagwa earlier in the day warned that he would deal decisively with his detractors “working to make Zimbabwe ungovernable”.
Addressing a Zanu PF politburo meeting in Harare yesterday, the angry Mnangagwa said there was an upsurge of “unwarranted onslaught” against his party, the government and its policies.
He said this had culminated in the alleged abductions of MDC Alliance youth leaders — MP Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — setting off a resurgence of hate speech and language in the country.
“This vile culture must be rejected by all peace-loving people.
“These confrontational actions which played out in the political, economic and media arena, were not isolated incidences, but well-orchestrated, co-ordinated and planned events.
“I am aware that the intention was to cause despondency, unrest, violence and to render the country ungovernable. These acts should never be tolerated,” Mnangagwa fumed.
“I urge the party and the nation as a whole to remain alert.
“Let us refuse to be divided by vigilantes who are hired by hostile foreign governments to distract us from our quest to grow our economy and improve the quality of lives for all, in peace, unity and love.
“Comrades, rest assured that our security apparatus will get to the bottom of these machinations and those involved will be brought to account,” Mnangagwa warned further.
Turning to businesses, the 77-year-old Zanu PF leader said there were “economic saboteurs and unscrupulous businesses that unjustifiably increased prices in pursuit of “a nefarious agenda”.
“On the economic front, we are witnessing a relentless attack on our currency and the economy in general through exorbitant pricing models.
“We are fully cognisant that this is a battle being fuelled by our political detractors, elite opportunists and malcontents who are bent on pushing a nefarious agenda. They will never win.
“We did not liberate this country for selfish profiteers and greedy individuals, but for all the peoples in our land,” Mnangagwa said ominously.
To highlight the anxiety that the collapsing economy has created in the upper echelons of power, both Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya attended yesterday’s politburo meeting, to apprise Zanu PF leaders about the country’s economic state.
Both men are not members of Zanu PF’s powerful decision-making organ.
Mnangagwa also said yesterday that his government was resisting being tempted to go on a retrogressive path — adding that Zanu PF was a peace-loving organisation that was “on a path to building the country into an economic giant”.
“We, therefore, reject the temptation of being drawn into issues that drive our nation backwards.
“Let those sinking into political oblivion do so on their own,” he said while having a go at the MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa is currently under the cosh from a rival faction led by Thokozani Khupe which recently seized the party’s iconic Harvest House headquarters from the youthful politician and his lieutenants.
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