By Sifiso Mahlangu | The Star |
Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has found himself in another dilemma after Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF spokesperson, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, threatened to reveal “a bombshell” regarding a recent visit by an ANC delegation to Zimbabwe.
According to sources within Zanu-PF, there is a growing belief inside the party that Ramaphosa has been secretly funding opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zimbabwean journalist Phillisiwe Ndlovu has revealed to The Star that when the ANC delegation arrived, Zanu-PF leaders told them they would not accept that the ANC meet Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC on the same day.
“Relations between the ANC and Zanu-PF are very strained. Zanu-PF believes Ramaphosa is supporting Chamisa. That’s why Zanu rejected the ANC’s assistance. Zimbabwean Intelligence has been following (links) between Ramaphosa and Chamisa for some time,” Ndlovu said.
The Star has also learnt that the ANC delegation was originally set to be in Zimbabwe for three days, but retracted its plan to meet the MDC and returned home on the same day.
Zanu-PF also took exception that both ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe were part of the panel.
In Zanu-PF protocol, the chairperson is higher in rank to the secretary-general and Mantashe’s inclusion in the delegation would mean that Zanu-PF needed to “beef up” its panel.
Ramaphosa is accused of secretly meeting Chamisa when he (Chamisa) was in South Africa and financially supporting MDC activity. Zanu-PF and the ANC have a long struggle history but have experienced cumbersome relations in the past few months.
The MDC has not responded to The Star’s questions on Ramaphosa’s links to the party.
Mugwadi has also been embroiled in a prolonged war of words with SABC foreign editor Sophie Mokoena over what he claims to be biased reporting by South Africa’s public broadcaster.
Mugwadi recently went on Twitter to lambaste the ANC and the SABC. “If the ANC and SABC News do not restrain and reign (rein in) Sophie Mokoena, whose fake news reporting and tweeting is directed at undermining a neighbouring country and President ED Mnangagwa for no apparent reason, I will seek permission to leak the bombshell.”
Speaking to the SABC as the ANC marked its 109th anniversary this past week, Ramaphosa said Mugwadi could reveal his “bombshell”.
“In relation to Zimbabwe, I don’t know what the representative of Zanu-PF was talking about. I’m sure he will be willing to share all that with the ANC and with all of us. We sent a delegation, as the ANC to Zimbabwe because Zanu-PF is a sister party to us.
“We have deep and strong links with Zanu-PF and it (the trip) was to express concern and also to find out what’s happening and to see the extent to which we can either be supportive and to fully understand what is happening. So as far as we are concerned, there is nothing amiss and there is nothing we could say we have to hide.
“At government level, I appointed three envoys who went to Zimbabwe and we continue to interact with Zimbabwe, and I am also in contact with President Mnangagwa on an ongoing basis,” Ramaphosa said.
Mugwadi made the threat in reaction to “hostile reportage” against Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF by the SABC allegedly spearheaded by Mokoena.
In tweets, he called her “an embattled marriage wrecker in newsrooms” and claimed she was “a concubine” of a senior ANC leader. He also accused her of dating a former Zimbabwean minister.