Jonathan Moyo says Mugabe distrusted everyone including me


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Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, once considered one of the most powerful men in President Robert Mugabe’s government especially during his first term between 2000 and 2005, says Mugabe distrusted everyone and ‘People like me were top on the list of the distrusted”.

He says Mugabe believed that Emmerson Mnangagwa and Constantino Chiwenga were his two most loyal assistants.

“These two were top on the list of the most trusted lieutenants,” he told Alex Magaisa.

“President Mugabe’s trust of these two predated independence and was cemented in 2008 when there was a handshake whose dynamics played out during the GNU government between 2009 and 2013 when Chiwenga and Mnangagwa were the most critical military engine behind the election campaign that they saw as a prelude to succession in 2018,” he said.

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

BSR: After 37 years in power, President Mugabe seemed to be very comfortable. We saw how often he travelled outside the country as a sign of a leader who had complete command of the military and had no reason to fear a coup. Most leaders who are insecure rarely venture outside the country. President Mugabe was always flying somewhere. On reflection did this give him a false sense of comfort? At what point did he lose grip of the military? Were you ever concerned that there might be a military coup, and did you warn him?

ANSWER: I think I have dealt with aspects of this question and I have indicated that I did warn President Mugabe about the coup to no avail. Let me reiterate. President Mugabe did not believe that Chiwenga and Mnangagwa would contemplate, let alone carryout, a military coup against him. President Mugabe believed that Mnangagwa and Chiwenga were his two most loyal assistants.  He had come a long way with them and literally groomed them. I can say that President Mugabe distrusted everyone, and in that regard people like me were top on the list of the distrusted, but not Mnangagwa and Chiwenga. These two were top on the list of the most trusted lieutenants.  President Mugabe’s trust of these two predated independence and was cemented in 2008 when there was a handshake whose dynamics played out during the GNU government between 2009 and 2013 when Chiwenga and Mnangagwa were the most critical military engine behind the election campaign that they saw as a prelude to succession in 2018. Between 2013 and 2014, there were no issues about this even between Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and the former First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe. Things changed immediately after the December 2014 Zanu PF Congress and all hell broke loose in 2015.  This is a story yet to be told.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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