Western donors fingered in Tsvangirai plot

By Lloyd Mbiba | Daily News |

HARARE – A damning MDC dossier claims that Zanu PF is working with suspended MDC deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, as well as secretary-general Tendai Biti and treasurer-general Roy Bennett to oust Morgan Tsvangirai from the leadership of the party.

MDC-T moneymen Roy Bennett and Elton Mangoma want Tsvangirai (centre) to step down
MDC-T moneymen Roy Bennett and Elton Mangoma want Tsvangirai (centre) to step down

Some Western embassies are also named in the report as having allegedly pulled together millions of dollars to help the coalition of MDC “rebels” and Zanu PF to oust Tsvangirai.

Both Mangoma and Zanu PF strenuously rejected the accusations yesterday, while Bennett could not be reached for comment. Biti said he could not immediately comment as he was in church.

Authors of the sensational dossier claim that Zanu PF does not want to face the MDC leader in the 2018 polls, which President Robert Mugabe is unlikely to participate in due to advanced age and health.

It is further alleged that the “rebels” are aware that Zanu PF is using them to remove Tsvangirai from the 2018 equation, while Western donors are blindly supporting the project.

The 17-page document, seen by the Daily News, details how the MDC rebels supposedly started putting their plan together to depose Tsvangirai, with the active support of Zanu PF agents, in 2012.

Central to the rebels’ strategy, the document alleges, was financial sabotage of Tsvangirai and the MDC’s campaign in last year’s disputed elections, as well as the diversion of party funds, as well as political espionage.

On top of the reported spying and manipulation of private issues, the rebels and Zanu PF also allegedly put together sophisticated propaganda programmes, as well as well-oiled plans to bribe party structures in a bid to turn them against Tsvangirai.

It would appear that some of the claims in the dossier are central to the charge-sheet recently served on Mangoma — who has been accused of embezzling party funds to use them to win over party structures.

National Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa
MDC National Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa

A miffed Mangoma rubbished the dossier yesterday, in turn alleging that the document had been authored by MDC organising secretary Nelson Chamisa — who was unreachable yesterday to defend himself or comment on these counter allegations.

“Don’t phone me to ask about Chamisa’s false reports,” Mangoma fumed.

“First, I never benefited anything from Zanu PF, be it farming implements or whatever. It is on record that I was the only MDC minister who was arrested several times during the unity government.

“This was so because I refused to be corrupted and work with Zanu PF.

“It is Tsvangirai who is working with Zanu PF. He is staying at a Zanu PF house. He is married to a Zanu PF daughter. If there is anybody who is working with them, it is Tsvangirai. He and Chamisa are the ones working with Zanu PF,” he  said.

Mangoma was suspended last month after he sent an open letter in January asking Tsvangirai to resign as MDC leader, saying he was a hard-sell candidate in the next polls because of his personal indiscretions and his failure to push through reforms while in the four-year power-sharing government with Mugabe.

Mangoma also alleged Tsvangirai was behind his assault outside Harvest House and has gone on to file a police report. Tsvangirai has denied organising his lieutenant’s beating and the case is now before the courts.

“Instead of responding to my letter, Tsvangirai hired Chamisa to look for thugs to beat me,” Mangoma said yesterday.

“Violence is the strategy of people working with Zanu PF and everyone knows that it is

Tsvangirai and Chamisa who are working with Zanu PF.”

The dossier also claims that Zanu PF had invested $10 million in the Tsvangirai ouster project, which it says started with the sabotage of the MDC leader’s presidential bid in last year’s harmonised polls, through the denial of campaign funds by Mangoma.

“The plan to divert and withhold funds was mooted in 2012 by Bennett, Mangoma and Biti for the major purposes which they are sabotaging the party in order to create a basis for judging Tsvangirai as having failed and therefore push for his ouster,” the document says.

“The sabotage was targeted at both the daily affairs of party management and administration, as well as the 2013 elections.

“It was proposed by the Zanu PF intelligence system and accepted by the MDC rebels that if Tsvangirai lost the presidential election it would be easier and justifiable to push him out of the MDC leadership position even before the 2016 congress,” it says.

Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada and Nelson Chamisa
Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada and Nelson Chamisa

While the Daily News could not independently verify some of the claims, the document alleges that some money was diverted by the rebels, allegedly including $4 million from the United States of

America, $3,2 million from Britain, $2 million from Australia and $1,5 million from Scandinavian countries.

The rebels reportedly raised an additional $5 million from other donors, allegedly by hoodwinking the diplomatic community into believing that the plot to oust Tsvangirai was “well-advanced and guaranteed of success”.

The document claims the rebels have also received a total of 100 vehicles from America, which were handed to their sympathisers in South Africa.

The dossier claims the diverted money has been used to buy the support and backing of party structures towards the leadership change agenda, with specific targets having been the provincial chairpersons and secretaries.

The strife has also sucked into its vortex members of the MDC secretariat, chiefly Toendepi Shonhe, and the secretary for policy and research, Fortune Gwaze.

“The duo have been the major force behind implementing the strategies of publicity campaigns, information leakages, bribing members of the party and structures to back the plot, as well as operating secret channels  of misinformation and propaganda,” the dossier claims.

Both Gwaze and Shonhe were not immediately available for comment yesterday.

The document further claims that secret service officers were spying on Tsvangirai and manipulating the information they gather to create bad publicity.

“Communications experts have been deployed to record Mrs Tsvangirai’s conversations, as well as invade her personal communication channels such as e-mails, to misinform and distort information

towards specific destinations and for intended goals,” the document reads further.

“Zanu PF agents have been sent to Mrs Tsvangirai and asked her to co-operate in plans to destroy the MDC leader in return for money ranging between amounts of $2 million and $5 million. According to intelligence sources, she has declined the offers.”

The rebels are also said to be waging a cyber-warfare against Tsvangirai.

“Under this programme, Internet network sites such as Harvestlikis and Radio Chokwadi on the Facebook platform are funded and operated,” the document alleges.

“They are invariably used to tarnish the image of the MDC leader and other party officials known to solidly stand by him, through falsehoods, misinformation and propaganda.”

The dossier claims Mangoma personally benefitted through access to resources such as farming implements and also business tenders, as well as deals, courtesy of the manipulation by the Zanu PF system. Daily News