How the military intelligence pushed Grace Mugabe to the right corner

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our guest writer, and do not represent the views of

Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (ED) used calculated leaks, through the military intelligence as bait to push Grace Mugabe to  the right position, in order to achieve his coup agenda against former President, Robert Mugabe.

The stealthy ED knowing Grace’s temperament used the military intelligence to feed her with information that would irritate her and influence her aged husband to take decisive action against his deputy.

Analysts believe that most of Grace’s allegations against Mnangagwa were gossiped into her ear by the military.

Of late, the Mugabes were said to have been favouring the army for information, as opposed to the Central Intelligence Organisation. As such, when the information was coming Grace thought she was being done a favour, not knowing it was in fact ED’s plan to provoke her to the extent that she caused him to be fired.

She further went on in public attacking ED alleging that she had incriminating information from reliable sources against Mugabe’ deputy.

To further show that it was ED’s plan, when he was accused of wanting to topple Mugabe, and fanning factionalism in the ruling party, ED could not bother much to clear his name, thereby giving Mugabe seemingly enough reason to fire him.

However, according to political analyst, Walter Wakabikwa, it is debatable, that ED actually created a conducive environment for Mugabe to fire him. He gave as example that at one time Jonathan Moyo presented a video in a politburo meeting exposing how Mnangagwa was planning to topple Mugabe, and ED failed to clear his name against the allegations.

Wakabikwa nevertheless, agrees that ED in a way provoked Mugabe to fire him; “Following the ice cream poisoning debacle ED publicly accused Mugabe and the G40 of the incident, while officiating at the late Shuvai Mahofa’s memorial service.

“During his last days in office of the Vice-President, ED endured the venom of the then first lady e.g. at the Bulawayo infamous rally. It sounded as if he was being victimised, and I think in that instance, ED was looking for sympathy,” he said.

Meanwhile, another political commentator, Elder Mabhunu, believes that all those allegations against ED were calculated moves by Mnangagwa himself. He said his reluctance to clear his name when the alleged video of his plot was presented, and his open blaming of Mugabe and the G 40 at Mahofa’s memorial service was a planned provocation to Mugabe.

“Mnangagwa was never known to talk bad about Mugabe, and he was not foolish to blame him at that time, let alone doing it openly, it was deliberate and done at the right time; that was a final push to cause Mugabe to act i.e. fire him. He knew that Mugabe would not stomach it any longer, especially after calls by his wife and the G40 cabal to dismiss him.

I asked Mabhunu why he believes that Mnangagwa wanted very much to get Mugabe to fire him and he said; “There are two main reasons why ED wanted Mugabe to fire him first before he stages the coup. First ED wanted to buy the sympathy of both the local and international community, so that when he would execute his plan, many would blame Mugabe, and take ED’s move a justifiable sweet revenge.

“The second reason is that ED didn’t want to appear a mere rebel. Imagine a sitting VP just rebelling against his/her boss without visible provocation, that would have dented his reception as a leader,” he said.

He added that ED wanted a reason, be it a real one or the one he creates to justify his action, and that as such many indeed blamed Mugabe for firing his long term lieutenant based on hearsay, thereby to some, Mugabe deserved what befell him in November 2017.

On the other hand, some analysts are of the school of thought that ‘a coup’ remains as such, either done with or without provocation, there shouldn’t be any justification to it. They believe Mnangagwa was wrong.

However, according to Mnangagwa, he did nothing wrong, as he was legitimately nominated by his party after the resignation of Mugabe. The move that was in line with the Supreme Law of the land, and as such he cannot be labelled a coup leader.

In the coming daily instalments I will be digging deeper into how ED managed to use various 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