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By Peter Nyoni | Welcome to this series of how the coup against Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was plotted and executed, and to help us unpack it in this first instalment, we get the details from the Boss’s mouth, from Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (ED) himself.
Just two days after being fired, ED hinted his next move, but Mugabe and team failed to read the language. Even Jonathan Moyo who was wrongly credited to be ZANU PF’s spin doctor or chief strategist failed to read ED’s well connected codes.
Mugabe lost his grip on power and presidency, the very day he fired his long time lieutenant, ED from both the ruling party and government.
In doing so Mugabe fell in a trap that would cost him his beloved throne, with only two days after being fired, ED narrated his plan, and the action he was about to take to dispose Mugabe of his much coveted trophy.
To carry out the succession plan successfully, ED knew it very well that he had to be fired first, based on a number of accusations attributed to his (Team Lacoste) with him seemingly out of the picture and denying his involvement.
Some called him a coward for failing to defend them; anyway, that was his plan.
ED is an intelligent strategist, whose approach is confusing to many, but simple ‘keep your friends close and your enemy even closer. Never let your opponents see you coming.’
ED was even happiest when Grace Mugabe surrendered her husband’s throne to him by having Mugabe dismiss him from both the party and government.
In a statement he issued on 8 November 2017, only two days after his dismissal ED said; “Now that you have told the whole world that I am your enemy who has taken more than 50 years to formulate a plan to dispose you, I now urge all genuine members of the party to determine for themselves who between three of us including your wife, and the G40 boys is the enemy of the party bent on destroying it.
Two days after being fired, ED was very sure that the throne had finally been surrendered to him, he told Mugabe and his cabal that those who violate the party code of conduct thinking they have now out-grown ZANU PF are free to go and form their own parties.
Mugabe and his cabal later complied with this statement, and went on to form their own party New Patriotic Front(NPF).
“I will go nowhere. I will fight tooth and nail against those making mockery of the party’s founding values. You (Mugabe) and your cohort will instead leave, by the will of the people,” declared ED.
Two days after being fired, ED predicted that the masses will march against Mugabe, how did he know that, is he a prophet?
He knew it because it was his plan to mobilise the people, who already for different reasons had their own bone to chew with President Mugabe, and they willingly or coincidentally toed ED’s line.
Working from behind the scenes, ED even hinted to the effect that he will be playing part; “This we will do in the coming few weeks, as Zimbabweans in general now require new progressive leadership,” he said then.
Mugabe failed to read ED’s codes; “This is party of my vision for a rejuvenated Zimbabwe, as I leave this post (VP) for now, I encourage all loyal members to remain in the party, and to register to vote as we will very soon control the levers of power in the country.
ED said the President had passed on to him life skills which have put him in good stead throughout his long period in government.
To show that he was taking over ED told Zimbabweans; “Let not your heart be troubled for peace, love, unity, development are around the corner. I will be communicating with you soon and I shall return to lead you.”
In a statement he issued on 21 November 2017 ED alleged; “Given the events that followed my dismissal on Monday 6th November 2017 at 4.00pm, my security details assigned to me and at my residency were immediately withdrawn. … my friends in the defence forces alerted me that plans to eliminate me were underway.”
After being contacted by Mugabe to come back from his self-imposed exile in South Africa, ED told the then President that; “I will only come back at the invitation of the people and defence forces when they are sure that my security is guaranteed.”
These statements revealed that ED had roots in the Defence Forces, and seeing them taking part in his succession plan was no surprise at all.
“In my contact with President Mugabe I told the him that the current political and constitutional crisis in the country is not a matter between him and myself; but between the people of Zimbabwe and President Mugabe,” he said.
Mnangagwa even warned Mugabe that if he continues to dig in, in defiance of the will of the people, he would suffer humiliation because definitely the will of the people (the masses) was going to prevail against one person.
He lambasted Mugabe for not living up to his promise; “Mugabe has always said that if the people (the masses) no longer want him, he will leave office; now that they have spoken he must now accept the will of the people and resign.”
Judging from his statements it was clear that his plan was anchored on the three pillars; the masses, the war veterans and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF). The ZDF was to lead the pack, while the war veterans would play a critical role in mobilising the masses to the streets.
In the coming daily instalments I will be digging deeper into how ED managed to use all the above ingredients (the war vets, the masses, and the defence forces) to stage a seamless, bloodless smooth coup or ‘soft coup d’état’ as it later became to be known.
I will also look at key events like the the Demise of Solomon Mujuru, the
Rise of Grace Mugabe, Gushungo Dairy Bombing, Devastating 2017 Street Protests and many other ‘disconnected factors’ that contributed to the end of Mugabe rule.
Peter Nyoni is a Zimbabwean running a business outside the country. He travels frequently between Harare and South Africa