Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was yesterday reportedly summoned by Zanu PF bigwigs for allegedly misfiring when he conceded that his party was heading for a crushing defeat at the next general elections and suggesting that the military will stage a coup in the event of a win by MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Report by Everson Mushava/Wonai Masvingise
The move followed Chinamasa’s interview with the BBC last week where he allegedly claimed the army would not allow Tsvangirai to assume the Presidency because he would reverse the land reform programme.
Zanu PF sources said while it appeared he wanted to curry favour with the powerful securocrats, this, however, had reportedly riled both the party and military chiefs who interpreted the statements as conceding defeat and inviting further isolation of Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe.
Impeccable sources told NewsDay that Chinamasa had been summoned to the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare to explain himself in a meeting that was chaired by party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and included party secretary for security and State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi.
According to the party sources, the statements could destroy the reputation of military chiefs some of whom were already in the spotlight over their negative remarks on Tsvangirai.
“The President’s Office is very angry over the utterances. The thinking is that this would isolate President Mugabe,” a source said.
The military, equally irked by the utterances, has reportedly ordered Presidential spokesperson George Charamba to spearhead a media blitz against Chinamasa.
“This is already in motion. An opinion piece by Tafataona Mahoso in the local State-run Sunday Mail is a damage control strategy emanating from the blitz,” the source added.
Mahoso, in his article, described Chinamasa as a traitor working in cahoots with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and the two MDC parties to sabotage the forthcoming elections and block the holding of general elections.
In another opinion piece in The Herald, Nathaniel Manheru, believed to be the pseudonym of Charamba, took a dig at Chinamasa and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.
“In my view, the hullabaloo should have been on why the two very senior officials ever dare speculate on a Tsvangirai win at all,” Manheru wrote.“It is unlikely, very unlikely.
“Secondly, it is plain impolitic to entertain any thoughts that speculate on your party’s defeat. Apart from suggesting your own self-doubt, you are inviting a negative debate on a speculative scenario. Why?”
But, Chinamasa, who has since claimed being misquoted in the interview, yesterday supplied NewsDay with a printed copy of what appeared to be a transcript of his BCC interview.
According to the transcript, he said he only suggested the military would intervene if the winner sought to reverse the land reform programme.
“He (Tsvangirai) cannot win, he has been campaigning and mobilising against the interest of Zimbabweans on many issues, whether we are talking of land, seeking to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle and this is where the military come in. The military are leaders who participated in the liberation struggle to gain our control over our resources.
“They have many of their friends who died and are buried in unmarked graves. Now if anyone is going to say when I come to power, I am going to reverse that, they have a right to say – please you are asking for trouble. You will be asking for trouble,” Chinamasa said in the transcript availed to NewsDay.
“He (Tsvangirai) will be asking for trouble to seek to reverse the land reform programme. Let me say it clearly he’d be asking for trouble. There’s no one who is going to accept any enslavement, no one is going to accept any enslavement . . .
“I am making it clear: Any person who wins power in Zimbabwe who wants to reverse the land reform will get himself into problems, and you can put whatever interpretation you want – he’ll get himself into problems. Zimbabweans will not accept to be enslaved.
Zimbabweans will not accept to reverse the gains of the revolution, they will not, and I know that he (Tsvangirai) is the front of the countries which have imposed sanctions and if those countries impose for him to win, that result would not be acceptable.
“No, we will not accept it; we will just not accept it. Isn’t that clear? We will not accept any person to come into power to reverse the land reform, we will not accept it.”
Strenuous efforts to contact Chinamasa over yesterday’s alleged meeting were fruitless at the time of going to print, while Mutasa andSekeramayi’s mobile phones were not being answered.