By Dakarai Mashava
Former president Robert Mugabe’s surprise interview on the eve of the elections on Sunday gave some rare insights into the suspicions the 94-year-old teetotaller had always had towards his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In the interview, Mugabe narrated a series of events in which Mnangagwa, who succeeded him after a military intervention last November, was allegedly not always forthright in his dealings with him and other members of the ruling Zanu PF party.
He alleged that one of the several times he had issues with Mnangagwa was in 1980 — just before the announcement of the elections that ushered in the ruling Zanu PF party into power.
“Well, he is a good worker; a very good worker but it’s not always that he told me the truth. In some cases I did not believe what he told me. What really gave me a judgment about him was when in 1980 after the people’s vote; the first vote by the people and before the results were announced he and Mr Stanard, a white (official)who was working in the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) came to me and said you are under threat. You, the late (Morris) Nyagumbo and the late (Enos) Nkala please leave the country, go to Mozambique.
“The three of us were known to be the militants and (the late Mozambican president) Samora Machel said why have you come? We told him that we were told that we are under threat (so) we had to leave. Samora said ah come on get back. We couldn’t go back straight on, we said please help us to go to Tanzania to inform Mwalimu Julius Nyerere on what has happened and the prospects we had of victory,” said Mugabe.
The former Zimbabwean strongman said they returned to Zimbabwe despite Mnangagwa’s warnings.
“…We said no let us go back home. We came back. They received us and nothing happened.
“I said to him (Mnangagwa) but why? He said it was in your interests for security reasons…Nyagumbo and Nkala were angry. Why? What did they want to do which would not be possible with us three?” Mugabe asked.
Mugabe also accused Mnangagwa of trying to fool him through a “spirit” medium.
“Then I said Chaminuka the prophet mufemberi what could have happened to him? Why is there no evidence at all of how he was beaten by the Ndebeles who took him? Then he (Mnangagwa) said I know you are worried by that. I have a person who actually knows what happened. I said I want to see that person. I want to hear; we want a story.
“Then he said you come. I went into his home. And there was a lady. He said this is my mainini, a sister of his mother…. She is with a power, a spirit which can tell you.
“He said she is just waiting for you I told her you were coming. She was living in a ramshackle thing. I went up …she started telling me about how strong she was and she had this spirit of Mbuya Nehanda and she was the one who did away with (Josiah) Tongogara. She said nothing about Chaminuka.
“He wanted me to see that he has this mainini of his as a spirit medium who was powerful. When I got down I said what nonsense is this? I needed to be told what happened to Chaminuka and all she wanted was to see me and try to convince me that she is a spirit medium we should accept,” Mugabe claimed, further alleging that Mnangagwa also tried to use the spirit medium to dupe the late Nkala.
“When Nkala also knew about this he (Mnangagwa) wanted Nkala to pay a kind of, not salary, an amount to sustain her either monthly. Nkala said nonsense, get away. That is why there was a rift between Nkala and him. It was not animosity but the two were not good friends. That was a lie.”
Mugabe, who appeared hell-bent on discrediting Mnangagwa before Monday’s watershed elections, also accused his successor of embezzling Zanu PF funds when he was in charge of the ruling party’s companies.
“Then we had some Indians doing our business at M&S (Zanu PF company), party business at Goromonzi farm and some companies of the party.
“He was working with them. We wanted to know what their efforts had yielded in monetary terms; we were not getting anything. (the late General Solomon) Mujuru said we must investigate, this man is a crook.
“So when we started our investigations we discovered that he had got some money from them (Indians). I asked him why? He said he had just got the money, he borrowed it. He wanted to pay some school fees for his kids but the money was never paid back. So I got to know that my man was not quite honest…,” he said.
Mugabe conceded that he realised very late that Mnangagwa was coveting his position.
“But I worked with him. We did some good things with him. I also did not know that he was eying my position until quite late.
“There it was I was a fool. I had him next to me. It was then that he connived with (Constantino) Chiwenga to oust me,” he said. DailyNews