Over the last four months, peddling the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business,” the country’s new president in cahoots with the Western press has been whitewashing a military coup into a popular, peaceful revolution that brought from exile a benevolent leader and placed him in power on an interim basis until elections. Omitted from the portrayal of the March 11, 2018 op-ed, “We Are Bringing About the New Zimbabwe ,” published in the New York Times and by-lined to Zimbabwe’s sitting president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, are all the maneuvers selling out the country’s political independence. Given reports of what happened to some of ZANU-PF’s G40 faction, including the killing of a bodyguard, and jailing with allegations of torture from November 14, 2017, until at least Robert Mugabe resigned as president a week later, the accounts in Mnangagwa’s op-ed are a pretty audacious rewriting of history.
Censored from mainstream headlines was the major news less than three weeks ago that former president Robert Mugabe was reported to have come out during his first ever briefing to outsiders since his ousting, saying his successor’s rule is “unconstitutional.” It shouldn’t be unreasonable to think such information would qualify as breaking world news. Addressing African Union Commission (AU) chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, among many others, Mugabe is reported to have declared that the Mnangagwa government was illegal and the AU should help to “restore normalcy and democracy in Zimbabwe.” Rescinding assurances he made at the time of his resignation, Mugabe said he was forced to resign under military pressure and that, “It’s tragic and sad that in Zimbabwe since November 15 government and state institutions have been taken over by the military which is now part of the current unconstitutional administration.”
“The accounts in Mnangagwa’s op-ed are a pretty audacious rewriting of history.”
The elder statesman has been keeping his ear to the ground for political developments. A week earlier was news of the growing tensions between Mnangagwa and army commanders. “The military element in ZANU PF has serious political ambitions, to the extent that they want Mnangagwa to serve one term, if he wins elections, before handing the baton over to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.” Presently Chiwenga is simultaneously in charge of the Ministries of Defense and War Veterans. He was commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces when the military embarked on its Operation Restore Legacy, widely seen as the coup that catapulted Mnangagwa to the presidency.
“Chiwenga was then appointed vice-president, while retired Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo, who announced the military intervention on state television, was appointed Foreign Affairs minister. Former Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshal Perence Shiri was appointed Agriculture minister, while retired Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje was appointed head of the ZANU-PF commissariat.” The aforementioned appointments followed a major purging of high-ranking Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) officers and Zimbabwe Republic Police.