BOOK: Two Weeks in November: The astonishing untold story of the operation that toppled Robert Mugabe
How General Chiwenga disarmed Mugabe’s police at Harare Airport
The dramatic November 2017 coup that claimed the life of CIO Boss Peter Munetsi and ended 37 years of President Robert Mugabe’s iron rule is captured in the Hagiography Two weeks in November by Douglas Rogers.
It all kicked off at Harare International Airport when General Chiwenga’s troops clashed with Zimbabwe Republic Police officers upon his return from China.
According to Rogers, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s security guards disarmed members of the paramilitary PSU – the Black Boots who were waiting at the Robert Mugabe International Aiport to arrest him in November 2017.
The story which is told in a movie style narrative by hagiographer Douglas Rogers reveal that at the height of the November 2017 coup, the paramilitary unit lay in wait at the airport to arrest the General.
They were surprised by the response from the military guards who disarmed them before fleeing the scene with the General.
Read the full narrative below:
According to one witness, an employee of a freight company, there was a back-up plan should things go awry: at about 2pm on Sunday afternoon, he sees five armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and two armoured vehicles, about 100 troops between them, drive through the cargo village towards AGS, where they occupy the facility… If the 1Para action went wrong, or they heard gunfire, these soldiers would be the cavalry, racing down the runway to tip the scales.
As it turns out, they are not needed. When the plane lands and begins to taxi towards the terminal, a command is given. What happens next might as well take place in cinematic slow motion: the special forces draw their weapons from under the overalls and aim them point blank at every member of the PSU team.
Taken completely by surprise, the police are instantly disarmed and detained, their weapons tucked away in bags. Outside, in the parking lot, another team – probably MI – clamp every police vehicle.
The PSU are immobilised before Chiwenga has even got up from his seat. Then, when the aircraft doors open, his security team board the plane, find him, and escort him away to a waiting armed escort on the runway.
It is all over in minutes, not a shot fired, exactly as Chiwenga expected. There are police roadblocks between the airport and the city but the General’s convoy does not slow down. It storms right through them straight to King George VI barracks, army headquarters in suburban Harare, just north of State House, the President’s official residence, and not far from Pockets Hill, the studios of the ZBC.
From there, according to the retired officer, Chiwenga makes a phone call to President Mugabe.
“What have you done?” he asks, his voice deep, gravelly, seething.
“What do you mean?” says the President.
“Why did you try to arrest me?”
“I know nothing about it.”
Chiwenga slams the phone down.
How Chiwenga’s soldiers took over ZBC studios
Rogers describes how the soldiers stormed the Zimbabwe Broadcasting studios and took over before the coup was announced by General Sibusiso Busi Moyo.
Read below the passages where he describes the incident:
Rumbidzai Takawaira, 27, is beautiful – a dead ringer for the young Diana Ross. “News Bae”, the fashion mags and twitterati call her. She’s also tough. A black belt in karate, before she became head presenter of the ZBC’s flagship 8pm Newshour programme, she pumped petrol at her uncle’s garage in Mutare.
She’s a canny social-media operator too, and at 9.05pm, after she’s finished that night’s news broadcast at the ZBC’s Pockets Hill campus, she hangs around the studio taking selfies to post to her Instagram account.
She’s heard all the rumours during the day, but she’s the first to admit she doesn’t report the news: she reads what’s put in front of her by her bosses. This being the ZBC, a relentless propaganda machine for ZANU-PF and the government of President Mugabe, there’s been a complete blackout of Chiwenga’s press conference and no mention of any tanks and soldiers moving into the city.
She’s selecting which selfies she likes best when her cameraman bursts into the studio, puts a finger to his lips and in a panicked whisper tells her: “They are here! Hide! Hide!”
“Who’s here?” she asks.
“Soldiers!” he says as he dives into a closet.
She hides under her desk – the same desk from which she’s just read that night’s news – and holds her breath. She can hear footsteps and shouting outside.
She’s a millennial, though, and she still finds time to update her status. She tweets that she’s at the ZBC and soldiers have entered the building. Then the studio door bursts open and she feels a kick in her side.
“You!” says a voice. “Get out of there!”
She staggers to her feet and gets a slap across her face. Three plain-clothes men are in front of her, probably MI.
The slap is nothing worse than any she’s felt in karate, but still, she’s terrified.
“Where are the CCTV cameras?” they ask. She takes them to the control room, past the news room where she sees combat soldiers in uniform, their helmets covered with leaves and foliage, forcing six or seven staff on duty to lie on the floor.
The staff are petrified too. Rumbi still has her phone on her and during a distraction wisely finds time to delete her earlier tweet.
“Why did you not read the statement you were supposed to read by General Chiwenga?” one asks. “I only read what I am told to read,” she says.
He shrugs; he seems to understand. Then Rumbi hears a loud rumble. Two tanks have arrived at the front doors of the ZBC. Rumbi thinks to herself: “Wow – this is war.”
Back in Johannesburg, Gabriel Shumba is frantic in the back seat of the rental car. He knows the soldiers have reached the ZBC and entered the building. “Guys, guys, this is important – whatever they do, tell them not to harm the journalists. They cannot be hurt. If the ZBC people want to leave they must be free to leave.”
The trio relay the message but Gabriel has no way of knowing if it’s received
Raiding of Chombo’s hose, 2 foreigners shot dead
Commandos under the command of Vice President Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga are reported to have killed two Israeli bodyguards who were guarding the then Minister of Finance Ignatius Chombo’s house during the November 2017 bloody coup that ended 37 years of Robert Mugabe’s rule.
A new book by Douglas Rodgers called Two weeks in November details how the two bodyguards were killed.
The book says, “According to the senior retired military officer, a crack 18-man Commando unit pulls up and blows up the steel front gates. Chombo has private security contractors -reputed to be Isrealis- who open fire. The Commandos fire back from an APC, killing two guards instantly.
“The soldiers storm the house and go room to room before finding the elderly grey-haired minister cowering with his wife and maid in the bedroom.
“He is detained for a week at an undisclosed location and later charged with corruption and fraud involving billions of dollars. No one knows what happened to the bodies of the contractors.”
There had been rumours of the Israeli snipers who had been hired to protect Chombo before but there has never been an official record to substantiate the rumour. The book becomes the first.
Commenting on the issue exiled Professor Jonathan Moyo said, “At the African_Union summit in the new year, Minister SB Moyo lied again that the November 2017 coup was so bloodless and peaceful that “NOT EVEN A BOTTLE WAS BROKEN”. But Douglas P Rogers, a hagiographer of the coup, on page 209 of his book cites a case of two guards killed by the Army!”