Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has not been able to hold a planned meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa as Generation 40 (G40), an ousted faction of the ruling ZANU PF party, wants to re-launch itself politically, says presidential spokesperson George Charamba.
In a wide ranging interview with the privately-owned Standard newspaper, Charamba said, “The meeting between the former president and the current one has been a matter between two characters. To our surprise, we saw this issue becoming a matter for political debate but also an issue of a political structure reportedly linked to the former president.
“It was also an issue of G40 people in exile who fear a meeting between the former president and his successor. In their calculation, which is rather foolish, they want to appropriate the symbolism of Mugabe and use it to relaunch themselves politically, therefore, they don’t want any meeting to take place.”
Charamba said a meeting between the two leaders was aborted before Mnangagwa left for Cote d’Ivoire a few weeks ago.
“The current president made a second overture to the former president just before he left for Abidjan and before the meeting could take place, another ruse was invented and it was supposedly an invasion and break-in at Mazowe where computers were allegedly stolen. The idea was to spoil the atmosphere for the meeting. Now they are talking about a break-in at Zimbabwe House, except that someone is not telling the country that the former president still holds the keys for that house.
“I doubt, therefore, that the incidents are real. The idea is to make sure that the meetings don’t take place. They are also abusing him because of old age. There is also something that is so provocative that happened just before Mnangagwa was supposed to leave for China: the G40 cabal tried to make the former president go to China the same day that the president left. The ostensible reason was that he wanted to buy tiles for his house.”
Charamba claimed that G40 had planned to have the two leaders in China and Singapore at the same time with Mugabe visiting Singapore for what appeared to be a genuine medical check up.
“As it stands, there are no reasons to make the two leaders go to same countries at the same time. In fact, the former president is leaving for Singapore today for a medical check-up.They also wanted him to travel to Equatorial Guinea with the hope that the country might fund their political activities, but the Equatorial Guinea government refused. There is a real push to create a situation of conflict between the former president and Mnangagwa for selfish gain.”
He said the two leaders would meet at an appropriate venue and time to discuss issues related to Mugabe’s complaints that he was violently toppled by Mnangagwa who was assisted by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces last November.
He also claimed that Mugabe still has keys to Zimbabwe House, an official residence of a sitting president.
“The current president hasn’t set foot at Zimbabwe House, but how do you keep the keys to the property when there is someone who must come in?”
The former president is pressing for a meeting with the current president, saying Mnangagwa is an illegitimate president of Zimbabwe as he was not voted into office. But Mnangagwa insists that Mugabe resigned when he was under pressure from the ruling party’s lawmakers and people of Zimbabwe, who took to the streets in conjunction with the national army, to force him to leave office after 38 years of iron fist rule.