Mnangagwa cornered by enemies as Mugabe prepares to jail him.

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President Robert Mugabe is `setting the deck to removing  his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa through the judiciary system a  source close the President revealed. The president has been making explicit statements targeted at his deputy indicating that the nonagenarian is fed up with what he perceives to be rebellion to his continued hegemony.

Recent events give credence to the source’s claims. In a recent cabinet reshuffle, Mugabe took the Ministry of Justice from Mnangagwa and appointed former head of the Zimbabwe Staff College  and current Director of the Central Intelligence Organisation Rt Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe in his place.

A trail of impunity and mysterious deaths

“If you see what is happening in the Justice Ministry you would see what Mugabe’s long game is. He appointed Happyton Bonyongwe because he knows Bonyongwe and Mnangagwa have never been in good books. Bonyongwe was appointed to the position of Director of CIO in 1998 following Shadreck Chipanga’s fall from grace. General Solomon Mujuru was against the firing of Chipanga however he acceded and recommended Elisha Mzonzini and  Bonyongwe from the military. Mnangagwa who was then Justice had wanted the then Deputy Director Lovemore Mukandi whom he had appointed CIO Adminstrator and also recommended to Deputy Director. The Mnangagwa was still Minister Of State Security  (1980–1988).” the source said

The appointment of  Mzomzini  and Bonyongwe opened the door for Joice Mujuru to rise within the ZANU PF ranks. She became the Vice President ahead of the much touted Mnangagwa whose plot to ascend  popularly known as The Tsholotsho Declaration was exposed and scuttled by Bonyongwe and Mzonzini. This led Mugabe, with the backing of the military and the CIO to demote Mnangagwa to Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities (2005–2009).

A door opened for Mnangagwa in 2008 following Mugabe’s loss to Tsvangirai during the first round of the presidential elections. General Mujuru  had recommended that Mugabe steps aside for the then youthful Simba Makoni. This did not go down well Mugabe.

Following his loss, the CIO and the General are said to have advised Mugabe to hand over power to Tsvangirai.  Mnangagwa alleges that the then Minister of State Security Didymus Mutasa was already fleeing the country when Mnangagwa and army commander Gen Chiwenga decided to fight it off. The army took over the control of the state machinery resulting in one of the most brutal period  since the massacre of the people of Matebeleland (1980-1987).

After a sustained campaign of violence, Mugabe participated in the june 2008 runoff elections alone after the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai. A Government of National Unity was then formed which saw Mugabe retaining power and appointing Mnangagwa to head the Ministry of Defence.

CIO Director General Happyton Bonyongwe

From that point onwards Mnangagwa began to firmly set his sights on the presidential seat. The military cabal began to push for the ouster of Mzonzini and Bonyongwe, however Mujuru still had major influence within the military and resisted.

Mysterious things began to happen to Mujuru’s allies. Deputy Director General Menard Muzariri who hailed from Chesa in Mt Darwin a few kilometers from Joice Mujuru’s home suddenly died from what was explained as liver cancer.

A few months later in August 2011, General Mujuru died in a blazing inferno at his farm in Beatrice. Foul play was suspected but Mugabe quickly moved to quail any internal investigations at the instigation of the Military cabal.

In September 2011, DEPUTY director (external ) Nothando Thuthani who had just been assigned the task to lead an investigation into Gen Mujuru’s death died after a sudden illness.

In May 2013 CIO deputy director(internal) Elias  Kanengoni  collapsed and died in Harare just 2 months after Director General Rt Brigadier Bonyongwe had nearly died from poisoning during a visit to Guinea. Had Bonyongwe died, the whole CIO top leadership would have been wiped out within 2 years.

These mysterious deaths exposed Joyce Mujuru. The military cabal went for the jugular  in 2015 resulting in her expulsion from ZANU PF and dismissal from the presidium. Her post was taken over by Emmerson Mnangagwa who doubled as the Minister Of Justice.

2017 – End Game

Following the push by Mnagagwa and his allies to force Mugabe not to stand in 2018, Mugabe and his wife turned to Mnangagwa’s enemies for protection. Reports indicated that  Mnangagwa was poised to be President with General Chiwenga as Vice . Feeling exposed Mugabe then romped in former Mujuru allies and close family members to push back.

Bonyongwe pushed for Kudzai Chipanga to take over the Youth League and consolidate a powerful tool within the succession dynamics. Kudzai Chipanga is the son of Former Director of CIO Shadreck Chipanga who was fired from the CIO following public power struggles with Mnangagwa loyalist Lovemore Mukandi.

Bonyongwe has the full blessings of Kembo Mohadi who also still holds deep-seated resentment for Emmerson Mnangagwa the then State Security Minister during the Gukurahundi era. Mohadi then a ZAPU MP was arrested by the CIO and tortured severely during years of persecution of people of Matebeleland.

Police Commissioner Chihuri is also believed to be pushing against Mnangagwa whom he has not forgiven from the days of the liberation struggle. Stephen Chocha as Chihuri was known during the struggle was convicted and kept in a dugout pit together with Rugare Gumbo, Hamadziri, Mudzi and others. Mnangagwa prosecuted and called for the death sentence then.

Given that Mnangagwa is digging in,  there has been talk of an extraordinary ZANU PF congress to push out Mnangagwa. Mugabe however is not leaving anything to chance. He understands that Mnangagwa has grip over Masvingo and Midlands. Mugabe does not have assurances that Manicaland or any of Matebeleland provinces would go with him.

In preparation for the Judiciary onslaught, Mugabe has romped in Bonyongwe – also a lawyer. In June 2017 he summarily fired Mnangagwa ally Johannes Tomana as the country’s Prosecutor General. Mnangagwa tried to push in his long time friend Ray Goba who also doubled as the Joint Operations Command lawyer towards the end of the GNU era. Ray Goba was recently fired before official presidential confirmation  at the instigation of new Justice Minister. This paves the way for an acting Prosecutor General that can push the case against Mnangagwa.

The events that are coming are hard to predict but it is easy to know who would be affected. General Constantine Chiwenga is in the firing line, Masvingo and Midlands ZANU PF executive will probably be dismantled. Mnangagwa will either be fired or sent to jail. There are many people waiting for his head since the day he called for death penalty  on Rugare Gumbo, Mukudzei, Joseph Chimurenga, Henry Hamadziripi and Augustine Chihuri in Mozambique 1978 !