By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
A review of President Emmerson Mnangagwa biography book, “A Life of Sacrifice” written by Eddie Cross has analysed how the former MDC secretary for economic affairs insinuated that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was behind the White City bombing in 2018 that was seen as an assassination attempt on Mnangagwa.
On 23 June 2018, just a month before election, a grenade exploded at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, at a Zanu PF campaign rally just after Mnangagwa had finished giving a speech.
It was described as an assassination attempt against Mnangagwa, who was unharmed and resulted in at least 49 injured, including Vice-Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, and other high-ranking government officials.
The 153 page biography that tried to tell the life history of Mnangagwa, from childhood to presidency, has been put under thorough review by UK-based academic and biographer Blessing Miles Tendi.
In his review article that was widely published last week, Tendi noted that Cross made reference to “hardliners” (Chiwenga ostensibly) who, before the July 2018 election, “argued that reforms to the electoral system and any relaxation of controls over the media and civil society would have serious impact on the ability of Zanu PF to win the election.
“Moreover, Cross contends that a grenade thrown at Mnangagwa on 23 June 2018 during a Zanu PF rally at White City stadium in Bulawayo ‘was of Chinese origin and in use by the Zimbabwe National Army’.
Cross however fails to mention that Chiwenga was also there and he sustained injuries. Cross appears to say that Chiwenga was behind the bombing due to his association with the Chinese.
“Chiwenga was present at the White City rally and his wife Marry sustained injuries from the blast but Cross, curiously, does not mention this. Of the two vice presidents, only Kembo Mohadi is identified as present at the rally and as having sustained injuries along with 47 others,” Tendi reviews.
Cross said, after the military coup Mnangagwa replaced Chiwenga with Phillip Valerio Sibanda, whom he regards as “a loyal and best soldier”, as commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in order to protect himself from another coup.
“From the foregoing, Cross appears to be casting aspersions on Chiwenga as a political operator. His biography suggests that Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are ill at ease with each other.
“Cross typecasts Chiwenga as obstructing political and economic reforms and as in favour of repressive and militarised state responses such as martial law.
“He intimates that Sibanda is a more ‘professional’ soldier than Chiwenga who Mnangagwa trusts will not carry out a coup – a contentious assertion, given that Sibanda participated in the 2017 coup”. Nehanda Radio