Itai Mushekwe/Mary-Kate Kahari
PARIS/CAPE TOWN– President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has allegedly been told by China to either resign or retire from office as Zimbabwe leader, and handover power to Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, or risk facing unspecified political action from Beijing, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has gathered.
It was not apparent last night, what course of action the Asian political and economic giant was going to take if Mnangagwa refuses to go, with speculation that VP Chiwenga, who is in China and is expected home before the end of next month to act as president during Mnangagwa’s annual Christmas leave, could be coming home to push out Mnangagwa for good, for failing to resolve the country’s economic situation and more seriously, for reportedly cunningly overturning former President Robert Mugabe’s “Look East Policy”, thus placing China’s economic interests in Zimbabwe under grave threat.
Spotlight Zimbabwe, last month reported that, hardline securocrats in Chiwenga’s camp, now want him to be the country’s president, and that he steps in to finish off Mnangagwa’s term between 2020-2023, before making way to a successor of his choice, who will contest the next presidential plebiscite on a ruling Zanu-PF ticket as a civilian leader, with the alleged blessing and orchestration of China.
Current Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda, is hotly tipped to become Chiwenga’s first vice president, should he ascend to the highest office in the land.
Sibanda and Chiwenga are believed to have made a secret pact, to hand Zimbabwe power to each other in the aftermath of Mnangagwa’s downfall.
According to a former intelligence minister and high level sources in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), the writing is now on the wall for Mnangagwa, because he is said to have angered China’s leader, Xi Jinping, by deceitfully slowly doing away with Mugabe’s “Look East Policy” under his “new dispensation” and “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
The former intelligence minister has also revealed for the first time, that China was the brains behind Mnangagwa’s promotion to vice president in 2014, after lobbying Mugabe on his behalf, with the view of maintaining and expanding the “Look East Policy”, which favoured economic ties and trade with China, together with other Asian nations ahead of the West.
“There is a serious political battle for the heart and soul of this country pitting China and the West,” said the one time Mugabe minister.
“What Zimbabweans don’t know is that China is the brains behind Mnangagwa’s promotion to the office of vice president in December 2014, after lobbying Mugabe to elevate him with the understanding that, Mnangagwa was going to consolidate the country’s Look East Policy, which promotes and protects China’s enormous economic interests in Zimbabwe. However that is all under threat, as Mnangagwa is now seeking re-engagement with the West and doing business with Eurasia, upon advice from finance ministry officials.”
The former minister said he will not be surprised if China is going to remove Mnangagwa because: “They put him there, when we had clearly initially opposed his VP appointment and Mugabe was aware of our position.Without China, he was not going to be vice president and subsequently the president. We know that a hidden Chinese hand was played in November 2017 to make Mnangagwa the president.”
Apart from Mnangagwa’s economic policy changes, OPC sources said China had recently told Mnangagwa through emissaries in Chiwenga’s office to “resign or retire” gracefully as Zimbabwe president, or risk facing unspecified political action from Beijing.
“Yes the possibilities of another coup to topple him (Mnangagwa) are very high. The whole government and even our office is divided over him and Chiwenga,” OPC sources said.
“However the reason China wants him out is because he has made them angry by reneging on a number of deals he made with Beijing in 2015, a few months after becoming vice president when he took a controversial trip there, which ended up angering Mugabe because it was linked to his succession. Some of the deals included offering China Railway, the contract to refurbish and reconstruct a new national railway network for Zimbabwe worth billions, but it now appears that a Western powerhouse (name supplied) is in negotiation to take over the massive project from the Chinese. Mnangagwa also undertook to give China exclusive diamonds and platinum claims in the country, but they have lost to Russia on that front. Emissaries from Chiwenga’s office in Harare have relayed the message that China wants him to resign or retire gracefully to make way for the VP, otherwise action is going to be taken against him.”
Spotlight Zimbabwe, can also exclusively report today according to senior staffers at the Zimbabwe Embassy in China that, Mnangagwa was also supposed to appoint former Zimbabwe Ambassador to China, Christopher Mutsvangwa, as his first vice president when he became president in November 2017 after toppling Mugabe in a coup, but deviated from an agreed plan with the Chinese.
Mutsvangwa played a pivotal role during the grand scheme to remove Mugabe coordinating intelligence and communications between then ZDF boss Chiwenga and Beijing from the capital and a command center in South Africa, from where he was operating after Mnangagwa was briefly fired from government by Mugabe.
It is also coming to light, from new information provided at hand, that had Mnangagwa honoured the original Chinese plan, Chiwenga was going to remain in charge of the military and only handover to General Sibanda, after Mutsvangwa succeeded Mnangagwa and appoints Chiwenga as first VP in his successor administration, which could have seen the formation of another government of national unity, to rope in opposition elements.
Mutsvangwa’s efforts to negotiate a coalition government with former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, after the November 2017 military putsch, was in vain as Mnangagwa refused to share power with the MDC-T.
“Mnangagwa had ideas of his own and ended up being forced to appoint Mutsvangwa as his special presidential adviser, so he could remain the eyes and ears of China in the presidency. To ease tension and further mistrust Mnangagwa went on to appoint Mutsvangwa’s wife Monica to the influential post of information minister after his 2018 controversial re-election. That is the other untold story about the coup, but Mnangagwa’s time is up, because of his political disobediance of China,” the Embassy staffers said.
China has rejected claims it had a hand in Mugabe’s coup ouster, accusing Beijing’s critics of attempts to sully its reputation and derail China-Africa relations.
Chiwenga has been in China for medical treatment since July this year, and his security is now a close guarded secret of the Chinese government and an elite unit of the country’s military intelligence.
China has invested in at least 128 projects in Zimbabwe from 2000 to 2012, according to The Diplomat, a current affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.
“Zimbabwe is among the top three Chinese investment destinations in Africa, attracting a total FDI of more than $600 million in 2013. Moreover, China was Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner in 2015, buying 27.8 percent of the country’s exports. Chinese companies have also been actively engaged in contractor services in telecommunication, construction, irrigation, and power,” notes the magazine.