JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe is on the verge of a second coup in as many years, amid reports claiming former strongman Robert Mugabe, the mainstream opposition and civil society leaders are planning to take advantage of rising tensions between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and some senior members of his ruling Zanu (PF) party.
Information made available to this publication hints that the office days of Mnangagwa – himself the product of a military intervention that deposed former strongman Mugabe in November 2017, could be numbered.
Worryingly, the separate accounts from various quotas who include intelligence officials, state security agents and civil society leaders, warn of a deadly operation that could spill a lot of blood and, in the worst-case scenario – throw the landlocked Southern African country into a bloody civil war.
The sources feared that should the situation continue as it is, blood could be splattered in the country, warning further that the situation could be uncontrollable due to the presence of various forces pushing for difference ends in the multi-pronged plot.
“The intelligence we have is that the situation has reached worrying levels; the security threat is both serious and real and we need to act,” said a Harare-based senior officer of the country dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
“We have discovered that while President Mnangagwa has been working, former President Mugabe and members of the defeated G40 faction did not rest and have been working with the opposition MDC Alliance, which we have discovered they are also funding, and some members of the security forces to try and destabilize the country and stage a coup.”
The intelligence chief said while Mnangagwa now knows about the threat, the Zimbabwean leader’s situation was not being helped by internal fissures within Zanu (PF), with Mnangagwa said to have fallen out of favour with a number of his erstwhile close allies, who include Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, local government minister July Moyo and former Presidential advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa.
“We have information that the G40, which has taken over the running of MDC Alliance security, has been making frantic efforts to woo Vice President Chiwenga to their side and that they offered one of the ministers closest to President Mnangagwa $150 million for him to finance the coup attempts against the head of state. We are still investigating further links, which I cannot reveal now.”
While still loved by most of the security forces’ top brass, Mnangagwa is said to be hated by most of the junior members, who carry out operations on the ground.
Another intelligence officer claimed that the coup plans were being masterminded by the “vengeful but frail Robert Mugabe”, who has apparently not come to terms with the fact that Mnangagwa removed him from power at a time when he thought his former trusted was done and dusted, following Mnangagwa’s temporary expulsion from government in 2017, which sparked the coup about two weeks later.
“We have gathered that retired CIO Director Happyton Bonyongwe is now the main strategist and chief advisor for MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa,” said the intelligence official, who went on to explain alleged links between the MDC Alliance and Mugabe, who made a public vow before the 2018 elections that he would vote Nelson Chamisa for President because “I cannot vote those who terrorized me” in reference to Mnangagwa and Zanu (PF).
“The G40 has captured Nelson Chamisa after their failed National Patriotic Front project. Even the MDC congress was partly funded by Grace Mugabe, who is one of the driving forces of the coup attempts and that explains to you the involvement of Shadreck Mashayamombe, Jappy Jaboon and other members of the G40 in the MDC Alliance,” said the intelligence operative, also based in Harare.
“Their deal states that if they succeed in staging a coup on ED (Mnangagwa), Chamisa will be installed as President in a 5-year transitional authority, Grace will become the new Vice President with Welshman Ncube becoming second Vice President to pacify Ndebeles. The Ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Justice and State Security will be from Mugabe’s camp. Chief Justice Luke Malaba will be forced into an early retirement and replaced with Rita Makarau. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will be reconfigured.”
The gory details of the alleged plot are that Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda and Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube, would be killed, but the method of doing that remain a mystery.
“The main player in all this is Charlton Hwende. The coup plotters did an analysis of ED’s weaknesses, which include his poor public appeal, his propensity to violence, but they also know that Valerio Sibanda is a professional soldier who has kept the relative peace by toning down ED’s temper,” added the government operative.
“ED is in charge of the economy and this is where Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance Deputy President) comes in. The OFAC principles evoked by ZIDERA make impossible for anyone to bring hard currency into Zimbabwe. The remaining white community has money stashed in foreign countries and they hope to bring it in after the coup, should it be successful. They are currently holding on to it to suffocate the economy, manipulate exchange rates and force inflation up, so as to agitate the citizens into protests. It’s called dilemma action.”
A Harare-based civil society leader confirmed that he had attended some capacity-building workshops in various countries, where they were being trained on how to mobilize citizens to protest and also carry out provocative sabotage activities.
“We were taught about activities such as bombing buildings using petrol bombs, distributing small arms and drugs to youths and inciting them to go into the streets under the guise of economic issues,” said a civil society leader who spoke to this publication this week.
“The economic sabotage activities, also being employed, are built on the fact that the more the people suffer, the bolder enough they will be to revolt and CSOs will be there to give them support and mobilise them to protest. The hope is that the violent ED will then deploy the army into the streets to quell the violence and this is the catch: some of the lower ranking commanders in the army, who are part of scheme, will deliberately instruct their juniors to open fire on the ‘innocent’ civillians.
“The aim is that at least 100 people must die in the streets of Harare alone and the same number in Bulawayo. We are working with some officials within the CIO, whose duty is to turn a blind eye on critical intelligence that can be acted upon to thwart the plan.”
The CSO leader made further claims about Nelson Chamisa and fallen members of the G40, which worked with Mugabe to try and block Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power before the 2017 coup.
“As part of his international engagement, Chamisa went on secret tours during which he met with Jonathan Moyo in Kenya and some US diplomats. Their biggest problem is that the SADC and African Union are still in support of Mnangagwa, so the violence must be so severe that even the two bodies will fail to stand with ED,” he added.
“To do that, their inside links in the barracks will leak some army uniforms and those uniforms will be given to trained youths and some rogue soldiers who will shoot at the protesters. They want to pacify SADC by that because they fear South African army more than any other and to prevent SADC from intervening in solidarity with ED, they need too much blood to flow on the streets.
International organisations and church bodies have been funded to mobilise congregants to engage in the “non-violent” protests to give an impression that ED is being removed by citizens. Through the availability of international funding, safe houses have been made available in neighbouring countries where the protest coordinators will be hidden.