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What Mugabe’s priest said about Tsvangirai, Mnangagwa and Grace

Roman Catholic priest Father Fidelis Mukonori has been getting a lot of mileage since he negotiated former President Robert Mugabe’s exit almost a moth ago.

Now reports say Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai approached him to open talks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa before he appointed his cabinet but Mnangagwa did so before Father Mukonori’s second meeting with Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai has denied having any talks with Mnangagwa about the cabinet appointments.

Mnangagwa’s advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa said Mnangagwa consulted Tsvangirai but he blocked those Mnangagwa wanted to appoint.

A source told The Insider that Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai had indeed talked.  They, however, disagreed on Mnangagwa’s approach  because he hand-picked two MDC Members of Parliament. Tsvangirai objected to this arguing – rightly the source said-  that as the party leader he should nominate who could join Mnangagwa in his cabinet.

Below is the full interview that Father Mukonori had with the Jesuit Review

It intrigued the world when a Catholic cleric appeared as a key player when Zimbabwe’s future hung in the balance last month. But Father Fidelis Mukonori is probably Southern Africa’s best-known Jesuit and is certainly the most influential Jesuit in Zimbabwe.

In November, Father Mukonori played an intricate role in the fall of Africa’s oldest president, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe. He was the key negotiator between the generals who lead Zimbabwe’s military and President Mugabe. He says that to him the outcome was obvious and that he told Mr. Mugabe that it was “time to rest.”

Just two hours after army tanks rolled out onto the streets of Harare in November, Father Mukonori got a call asking him to go to the army barracks to meet with the generals. He explains: “They told me that what was happening within ZANU-PF [the ruling party] was not acceptable. The issue of corruption, the purging of war vets, the mudslinging against soldiers, especially generals, was not acceptable.”

He was asked to go and tell the president what he had heard. Father Mukonori quickly became a mediator between the president and the generals over the next days as Zimbabwe began an unexpected but peaceful transition from Mugabe’s rule. Father Mukonori spent 16-hour days mediating between different parties before driving back to the mission where he lives each night—some 40 minutes outside of the country’s capital.

Just two hours after army tanks rolled out onto the streets of Harare in November, Father Mukonori got a call asking him to go to the army barracks to meet with the generals.

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