By Itai Mushekwe/Nancy Mabaya/Mary-Kate Kahari | Spotlight Zimbabwe |
Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga’s perennial health problems are reportedly linked to the ruling Zanu PF’s thickening internal assassination and counter-assassination plots among it’s key triune factions, amid claims that the VP has suffered at least two poisoning attacks from his foes since 2017, but doctors are allegedly failing to identify the nature of the poisons involved, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.
The ruling party is said to be split among confederacies backing Chiwenga who have a heavy military background, President Emmerson Mnangagwa himself, and remnants of the G40 circle who are loyal to former leader, Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
A senior Zanu PF Politburo member this week said there are fears of imminent bloodbath in the party, as the two key factions supporting Chiwenga and Mnangagwa are now locked in an ultimate political war to control the party, and ensure that Mnangagwa’s successor is a candidate from their camp.
We have since exclusively revealed that Mnangagwa is due to resign as the country’s president inside 12 months over his failure to fix the economy and open Zimbabwe for business, and that a military campaign to force him out code-named “Operation Restore Economy” is on the cards should he resist, and will now depend on Chiwenga’s recovery, so it might seem.
Chiwenga has not been to work since last month, and has been receiving medical treatment mostly in South Africa and more recently in India for an undisclosed ailment, as he battles to recover good health.
In February this year, government sources who spoke to private Zimbabwe online media, said the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, at one time was unable to speak and had gone for a whole weak without eating, resulting in serious weight loss to his body. While in South Africa, Chiwenga reportedly underwent esophageal manometry, according to ZimLive.com.
The procedure involves, an examination to test the strength and muscle coordination of one’s esophagus when they swallow.
Military intelligence sources said, there was indication that Chiwenga had been poisoned at least twice since the November 2017 coup, and is lucky to be alive after initially receiving emergency treatment in China to clean out his system.
“The vice president’s security has been tripled, and he no longer eats and drinks at public gatherings (especially Zanu PF),” the sources said. “We have established that his health problems could be linked to increasing assassination and counter- assassination plots inside the ruling party.
“He (Chiwenga) is lucky to be alive right now because Chinese doctors were quick to detect poisoning in his system. However he is still not out of danger, as we suspect he was poisoned again recently. Investigations are taking place, that’s why you see he has been in and out of the country to South Africa and India for further examination and treatment, but all the doctors are failing to establish the exact nature of the poison he might have ingested with his food.”
Chiwenga himself has suggested that, he was paying the price for removing Mugabe from power, triggering speculation that he was indeed poisoned.
Early this year army officials said they were not taking chances with Chiwenga’s health, following suspicion he could have been made to ingest the deadly Polonium -210 by his enemies using food. The poison is very difficult to trace in the human body and only nuclear scientists have the expertise needed to trace it.
The Politburo member said Zanu PF was likely to witness “a terrible series of assassinations” as the fight to dislodge Mnangagwa was going to wind up bad, but the military would prevail with Chiwenga as the winner.
“The internal rifts are severe, and unlike the exit of Mugabe, we are likely to witness a terrible series of assassinations in the party. Off course the military will emerge victorious, but people from the president’s side are scheming to have his wife to take over, because he himself is also a victim of poisoning and has no clean bill of health.
“Ko zvingataurwe here? (They cannot openly talk about it). I don’t she her (Firstlady) succeeding because of Oppah Muchinguri, who is very senior in the party hierarchy. Muchinguri can only become VP at best, and the number one spot is for the military. Zanu PF is on the verge of military configuration.”
Assassination plots are not new in Zanu PF.
In June 2018 Mnangagwa escaped injury after a bomb explosion at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, where he was addressing a presidential election campaign rally, in what state media described as an assassination attempt.
The bombing resulted in at least 49 injured, including Chiwenga and his counterpart, VP Kembo Mohadi, together with other high ranking government officials. Mnangagwa blamed the attack on former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s G40 faction.
A few months earlier before becoming president, Mnangagwa had accused Mugabe’s administration of plotting to eliminate him from his bolthole in South Africa.
“I told the President that I would not return home now until I am satisfied of my personal security, because of the manner and treatment given to me upon being fired,” said Mnangagwa at the time, citing a sinister plot against him.
“Security personnel, who are friendly to me, warned me that plans were underfoot to eliminate me once arrested and taken to a police station. It was in my security interest to leave the country immediately.”
Also in April this year, former Bulawayo South legislator, Eddie Cross, alleged that members of G40 expelled from Zanu PF in 2017 are buying arms to instigate a war in the country and topple Mnangagwa.
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club Cross said: “Mnangagwa is committed to reform but he has not received sufficient recognition for what he has done. Daily he has to deal with recalcitrant elements in his party. Intelligence sources informing me suggest that the G40 are buying weapons.”
Prior to her demise, G40 vice presidential aspirant Grace reportedly launched the Empowerment Bank a month before the November 2017 putsch, as a vehicle to facilitate laundering huge sums of money to be used in her bid for power.
According to a Zanu PF central committee report some $10 million had been put aside to fund G40’s fight to control Zanu PF. Grace fronted the G40 group and would have been appointed the party and State Vice President.
Our contact in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) yesterday confirmed that all was not well in the presidium, adding that Mnangagwa’s supporters want him to fight to the bitter end, and stay as president, but it was now a matter of time before there was a new regime in Harare.
“Political tensions are high, to such an extent that Mnangagwa is not staying in Harare regularly, opting to be at his Kwekwe farm, where he has a mini-command center to run some government affairs that do not require him to be in Harare.
“He has been using the presidential helicopter to be airlifted between Sherwood Farm and State House. Once the VP recuperates, he’s likely to usher in a new government sooner than people expect. ”