Charamba says Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are inseparable- vakapfekana



VL: There are reports that you recently attended a meeting with the Information minister and some Zimpapers executives where an order was issued to scale down on the coverage of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga amid concerns he was overshadowing the president. What nictitated the meeting and why was the minister compelled to issue such an order?

GC: How does my new position allow me to control Zimpapers? That is a lie.

I worked with the current President from as far back as he was still a minister and we developed almost a personal relationship.

Maybe that is why I suffered in the past. With VP Chiwenga I knew him even before he was commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, and whenever I talk to him he addresses me as his young brother and I address his wife Mary Chiwenga as Amaiguru.

In fact, (a publication) wrote a story that I have been captured by the military but it is not true.

When it comes to VP Kembo Mohadi he addresses me as Wezhira Wezheve because I come from Buhera.

President Mnangagwa actually calls me Jojo. That is how we interact in terms of interpersonal relationships and it is very intimate with the president and the two VPs.

Maybe because of the experiences of pre-November where there was tension within the presidency the media industry has grown to believe that an abiding feature of the presidency must be conflict.

It has spilt over from pre-November and was motivated by the G40, and that thinking still lingers in your news rooms and is looking for validity in changing circumstances and so there must be conflict and if it is not there it must be invented so that the theory of conflict continues and you (media) say who is more likely to be an adversary of the President and you think it must be Chiwenga.

VL: What is your reaction to allegations that your removal from the position of permanent secretary had to do with your allegiance to Chiwenga and your use of state controlled media to prop him up?

GC: You (media) invented that conflict, and I live close to those characters and then you make allegations.

If only you knew the degree of interaction between the two (Mnangagwa and Chiwenga).

If you knew no one would pick a pen and put that line, actually vakapfekana (they are tight buddies). It is the same with Mohadi, each time we are together there is laughter through and through.

That is the convivial environment that characterises the presidency, but there are certain groups in society which feel threatened by the harmony in the presidency and want conflict, but no such conflict exists and will ever exist.

Recently there were unusual developments where Amai Chiwenga gave up her organisation Musha Mukadzi so that the first lady (Auxillia Mnangagwa) can run it as Angel of Hope – but that is the spirit.

There is only one first lady and everyone rallies around that. When the White City tragedy struck, Zanu PF went to elections without the national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri because she was badly injured.

VPs Mohadi and Chiwenga also suffered injuries, and luckily the two (Mnangagwa and Chiwenga were able to work together and pulled the whole machinery of campaigning.

Can you imagine if the bombing was on the opposition, the elections were going to be stopped.

So, there is camaradie spirit existing within the Presidency.

I have noticed two divisive strategies pursued by people opposed to the current leadership.

The first is to allege conflict and invent it. The second is to invent illness – that VP Chiwenga is dying and bed ridden, and given my state in government I can relate to them because those are techniques to destabilise an outfit, except that we have three trained soldiers, two intelligence ministers, and one is commander in the presidency – and how do you divide them.

Mohadi is a CIO, Mnangagwa was a long time intelligence minister, Chiwenga rose from the liberation war to the rank of general and then commander, and how do you use run of the mill techniques to divide people with vast experience?

That is an exercise in futility.

So, I have never had a meeting with the minister, except for hand over take over, nor did I have any meetings with Zimpapers.

VL: So, is it true that you were removed from the Information Ministry because of your propping up of Chiwenga?

GC: I am not allegiant to anyone. I am allegiant to the presidency, and they work well as a unit.



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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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