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Will anything really change in Zimbabwe?

Two days later, on 13 November to be exact, Gen. Chiwenga led the top brass of the military to issue that stiff statement in which they threatened to, if need be, intervene to safeguard the “revolution” from “counterrevolutionaries”.

As the military put it: “The history of our revolution cannot be rewritten by those who have not been part of it … We remain committed to protecting our legacy and those bent on hijacking it will not be allowed to do so.”

That was an insinuation against Grace Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere (Minister of Local Government and political commissar of ZANU-PF), Kudzai Chipanga (leader of ZANU-PF’s Youth Wing) and others who never fought in the liberation war but had become ascendant in the party lately.

The last straw however was Grace Mugabe, whose behaviour as First Lady and leader of the party’s women’s wing had become simply unacceptable to most people.

Patrick Chinamasa, a man who had worked with Mugabe in various ministerial portfolios for over three decades but was surprisingly demoted from Finance Minister to Minister for Cyber Security in a mini cabinet reshuffle in October 2017 (which was believed to have been influenced by the G40), revealed on 25 November that Grace Mugabe had to be stopped before she further debased state power.

“What troubled us was that the leadership had ceased to be that of Mugabe but his wife,” Chinamasa explained at a ZANU-PF provincial coordinating council (PCC) meeting in Mutare, the capital of Manicaland province.

“What we would agree on in the politburo or cabinet was reversed at Grace’s behest. Other ministers and politburo members were forming a beeline to Mazowe [the headquarters of the First Lady’s business empire 40km outside Harare] for briefings with her.”

Chinamasa went on: “We voted for Mugabe but Amai Mugabe was now the de facto president. Her leadership was unacceptable, [as she was] just attacking people and causing divisions. We rejected that kind of leadership. Where were we going [in 2018], if we were to vote for Mugabe, we were going to be voting for Grace, and that we did not like.”

Explaining why the military had to act, Chinamasa said: “When Mnangagwa was fired, we knew we were in trouble. The First Lady and her cabal wrote the letters. You can’t come to the party today and fire a person like Muchinguri who fought for the party. God helped us and we realised the powers that we had. I want to thank the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who allowed us to reclaim our party.”

Chinamasa has since been returned to his old position as Finance Minister by the new President, Mnangagwa, in a slimmed-down cabinet announced on the night of 30 November.

Speaking at the same PCC meeting in Mutare, the Minister for Water and Environment, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the woman who relinquished her post as head of ZANU-PF’s women’s wing in 2014 for Grace Mugabe to assume the position, blamed the former First Lady for single-handedly causing Mugabe’s downfall.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said: “Before the President allowed his wife into politics, everything was good. His downfall came because of Grace. She destroyed our President single-handedly and that is why the soldiers came in.”

By Baffour  Ankomah- The New African

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