What appeared at the beginning to be a military coup in Zimbabwe when soldiers confined President Robert Mugabe to his house had by Friday – 72 hours after the stand-off started – remained unresolved. What was increasingly coming out was that the veterans in the leadership of the army had simply moved in to safeguard their interests and those in their league; with little to do with the millions of suffering poor Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF) was not happy with the way President Robert Mugabe was running the country especially the interference of the first lady Grace Mugabe which culminated with the firing of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. On Wednesday ZDF occupied the national television and announced that President Mugabe had been held at his house with his family under security. Three cabinet ministers were arrested. This created mixed feelings around the world with most nations praising the move by the army while SADC Chairman Jacob Zuma condemned the move and called for rule of law.The army led by General Constantino Chiwenga played down the coup, stating that they only want to get rid of some criminals around the presidency.On Thursday, the body language changed from trying to remove President Mugabe to posing for pictures with him which dampened the spirit of most Zimbabweans who were looking forward for regime change.
Zuma sends envoy
On Thursday the South African President Zuma sent envoys to meet President Mugabe being his Minister of Defence Mapisa Nqakula and Intelligence Security Bongani Bongo.Also in attendance at the meeting were ZDF Commander General Chiwenga, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Defence Sekeramayi and Father Mukonori who is Mugabe’s confidante and spiritual advisor.At the meeting Mugabe is said to have told the SA envoys that there was no purge in government but only in the party ZANU PF. He said that he was surprised the army talked of instability yet no one had gone in the streets to protest the purges.It is alleged that he accused the ZDF generals of causing instability in the country and meddling in party politics. After the meeting the army started to speak in forked tongues making some political pundits to label the coup plotters amateurs.
On the same day SADC Organ Troika Plus council chairperson ministerial meeting was held in Gaborone to make recommendations on the political situations in Zimbabwe.The meeting was chaired by South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and attended by ministers from Angola, Zambia and Tanzania. They recalled for an urgent SADC Extra Ordinary meeting of all members states and committed to remain seized with the situation in Zimbabwe.The recommendations infuriated most people who felt that the regional block was just a toothless dog. Leading the attack was Zimbabwean independent MP Themba Mliswa who said that SADC should leave Zimbabwe to the Zimbabweans.
Behind the fallout
The fall out between President Robert Mugabe and his time ally Mnangagwa has nothing to do with politics but business dealings that have gone terribly wrong, especially in the diamonds dealings – sources have revealed. At the centre of the deal is the son of a prominent Botswana businessman who is involved in diamonds dealings with Mnangagwa and his son Emmerson Junior in aggregating and valuation of diamonds.The Motswana businessman (whose name is known to this publication) was raking millions of US dollars in the diamond industry in Zimbabwe partnering with some senior Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) generals including the commander General Constantino Chiwenga.When Mnangagwa was fired by Mugabe after pressure from his wife Grace Mugabe, the Botswana businessman and Mnangagwa’s son fled to Zimbabwe. “The Motswana guy has worked for many years at Debswana before quitting and joining the diamond dealings network in Zimbabwe where he is doing well,” said an Intelligence source.The diamond dealer, who is one of the renowned diamond valuators, helped the Zimbabwean government to bypass the Kimberly Process Certification (KPC) during the time when they were suspended. The KPC, which regulates the global diamond industry, has been unable to decide whether to certify the gems produced from the Marange fields but later agreed to certify them.According to the intelligence briefing, after selling of diamonds to China, Russia and other countries, this cartel didn’t share equally the proceeds with the Mugabe family. The mining dealings came from the Chiadzwa diamonds fields and Marange Diamonds which were discovered in 2006.
Revenue from the sale of the diamonds from the two mines are said to have been always channelled towards Mugabe and his allies, especially those in the army and police. Recently when the revenue dwindled, Mugabe suspected that some of his close people were now betraying him.The entrance of the army into the firing of Mnangagwa – according to the intelligence information – was motivated by the fact that he was the umbilical cord in the diamonds for arms deal signed by the ZDF with Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2010 for the Chiadzwa diamond mine.The deal was penned down by General Chiwenga. Mnangagwa Junior and his Motswana business partner also have mining interests in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they partly held President Mugabe’s interests.As a result Mnangagwa, who has been touted as a possible successor to Mugabe (93), fell out with the first family.This led to the first lady Grace Mugabe publicly calling for his sacking and labelling him a traitor. Mugabe has been under house arrest since Wednesday, after an early morning announcement of a purge of so-called criminals around him by the Zimbabwean military. On Friday morning he made his first public appearance as he officiated at the graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University.Most of those detained by the army are believed to be allies of First Lady Grace Mugabe, whose power play and open desire for the Presidency is believed to be at the heart of the military's irritation.
Who is General Chiwenga?
Born in Wedza district of Mashonaland East Province in 1956 Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga joined the war in 1973 and was trained in Mozambique as a ZANLA militant. Chiwenga adopted the war name of "Dominic Chinenge".He succeeded Philip Valerio Sibanda as the army commander in 2003 and was involved in the war in Democratic Republic of Congo. One who is not afraid to speak his mind, General Chiwenga early this year warned President Mugabe and his wife Grace to respect war veterans.Mugabe had intended to retire him as the army commander in July this year as he felt that he was meddling in internal politics of ZANU PF and its succession battles. On a visit to Harare early this year, we visited one of the opulent and leafy suburbs on the north of the capital city and passed through an area called Brooks where big mansions lined the streets.The taxi driver showed us a big house under heavy military security, saying it was owned by General Chiwenga. He is regarded as one of the wealthiest people in Zimbabwe.He owns several companies and apartment in Malaysia.