Veteran investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono says the presidential inauguration notice circulating on social media platforms is fake and a “counterintelligence trick” to pressure the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) to go to court and lose the case thereby giving legitimacy to the President-elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
CCC has rejected the outcome of the 23 August 2023 elections where Mnangagwa was declared the winner with 52.6% votes and his ZANU PF party won the majority of seats in the National Assembly.
The election has been condemned by observer missions as lacking elements of being free and fair.
The Southern African Development Community observer mission also said the polls were far from being free and fair.
However, since Friday, a letter purportedly addressed to heads of State by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministry permanent secretary James Manzou has been circulating on social media.
The letter states that Mnangagwa will be sworn in on 04 September at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
However, posting on X, formerly Twitter, Chin’ono pointed out that the letter attributed to Manzou has not been shared by the Zimbabwe Government’s social media handles or its spokesperson Ndavaningi Mangwana. Chin’ono wrote:
“I have looked at all Zimbabwe Government social media handles, the presidential inauguration notice is not there except on auxiliary ZANUPF social media handles.
“It is not even on the official ZANUPF official social media handles. Journalists have not been invited for media accreditation for any presidential accreditation.
“My view is that this is yet another counterintelligence ruse to push CCC to go to court. If it were real, @nickmangwana would have posted it, there is no way the trigger-happy propagandist would not have posted it.
“You see, ZANUPF and Mnangagwa need and badly want political legitimacy beyond ZEC after the shambolic election.
“If Chamisa goes to court and loses, regional bodies like SADC can’t get involved where the constitutional court of a country has ruled. It creates another layer of legitimacy, legal legitimacy.
“Morgan Tsvangirai didn’t go to court in 2008 because it was clear to him what the court would say, Robert Mugabe was forced to have a political settlement through the political arena.
“ZANU PF and Mnangagwa know this and they don’t want this sorry saga to continue, it will continue if it doesn’t go to court because as I said on Friday, Mnangagwa and his regime lack craft and performance legitimacy.
Another addition of political illegitimacy will create a huge nightmare and headache because it will cause problems even inside ZANUPF on a lame duck President serving a last term.
I don’t think that there is an inauguration on Monday, I think the regime wants to remove the headache of a shambolic election SADC report that will force regional intervention by getting cover through a constitutional court ruling.
I think the inauguration notice is meant to give a “maihwe” moment to CCC so that they rush to court.
I agree with Brian Kagoro’s assertion that law substitutes social struggle with elusive and false hope.
There is a time to go to court, and there is a time to use the political terrain to fight your battles.
I know that there are many people encouraging CCC to go to court, the choice is theirs to go to court and sanitise the shambolic elections or to turn to the political arena.
Everybody including SADC knows that the election was shambolic, what else do you prove in court?