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Zimbabwe Security Forces Dismiss Coup Attempts on President Mnangagwa

FILE: Armed soldiers stand by an armored vehicle on the road leading to President Robert Mugabe's office in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
FILE: Armed soldiers stand by an armored vehicle on the road leading to President Robert Mugabe's office in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

State security forces have dismissed reports that the Zimbabwe Defence Force is planning to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa in conjunction with some opposition parties and former members of the ruling party, who left the country when the late former president Robert Mugabe was ousted in a defacto military coup.

In a statement, the Working Committee of the National Security Council, which convened a high-level security meeting in Harare on Wednesday, dismissed the reports, saying such rumours were meant to derail President Mnangagwa’s government efforts in implementing tangible social and economic reforms in the southern African nation.

“The government of the Republic of Zimbabwe has noted, with grave concern, a recent upsurge in rumours suggesting an imminent military coup de’tat in the country. Government would therefore like, through the agency of the Working Committee of the National Security Council (WCNCS) as convened here in terms of Section 209 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.23) Act 2013, to unequivocally debunk and dismiss these rumours with the contempt they deserve.

“The purveyors of the false coup narrative claim that former members of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) who fell by the wayside and largely went into self-imposed exile at the advent of the New Dispensation in November 2017, are coming together in a united front with some named senior government leaders, some members of the Security Forces of Zimbabwe and elements of the opposition formations. This in a bid to taint the image of His Excellency the president, to undermine the legitimacy of government and to render the country ungovernable.”

The National Security Council further claimed that indications are that the country would be run by a National Transitional Authority, which will exclude Zanu PF, if Mnangagwa is toppled.

“Of course, nothing could be further from the true reality of Zimbabwe’s security situation now and for the foreseeable future. Indeed both, claims of a military coup and a National Transitional Authority in the making, amount to mere agenda setting by merchants of discord amongst our people, with the support of their foreign handlers. They are completely unfounded.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no coup in the making, nor is there any form of Transitional Authority of Inclusive Government that is contemplated by the New Dispensation, except in the fertile imagination of the purveyors of this false narrative.”

The National Security Council warned “the purveyors of this medley falsehood, who include such characters as Saviour Kasukuwere, Job Sikhala and a coterie of their accomplices who were are aware of, not to cry foul when the long arm of the Zimbabwean law catches up with them in due course.”

The Council claimed that the coup d’état reports were being peddled through which it called opposition-aligned print and electronic media, including “non-attributable” internet-based platforms like Gambakwe Media, Nehanda Radio, Zimeye, “various antigovernment hashtags and thousands of trolls.”

It also claimed that there are several non-governmental organizations and certain diplomatic missions accredited in Harare involved in dissemination the coup reports.

“This narrative, which also set an agenda for and promotes negative political activism, including coordinated fake abductions and media campaigns, has of late rope in several self-proclaimed local and international prophets. These include one US-based Nathan Humbryd of the so-called Miracle Ministries, Talent Chiwenga, a self-styled rabid anti-government Harare First Street preacher, Simon Chiloh of the so-called Deeds of Christ Ministries and a few others.”

The National Security Council noted that some accredited foreign missions engaged in spreading the coup rumours were now aligning themselves with opposition parties.

“… They also have, in the process, brazenly jettisoned any semblance of diplomatic impartiality and finesse in blatant violation of the peremptory norms of International Law. This has resulted in the quite surprising adversarial stands and policies that some of the big powers are then projecting and unashamedly pronouncing against Zimbabwe. Some foreign capitals have also tried to arrogate unto themselves, based on these false narratives, the choice of nations that Zimbabwe should relate with.”

Some opposition parties and non-state actors dismissed the National Security Council’s claims as baseless while others noted that “there is no smoke without fire.”

The late former president Robert Mugabe was toppled by the Zimbabwe Defence Force in conjunction with the ruling party, parliament, Mnangagwa, and public protesters. He died a disappointed man in Singapore last year.

The National Security Council consists of the president, vice presidents, some ministers and members of the security services and other persons as may be determined in an act of parliament.

Section 209 of the Constitution stipulates that the functions of the National Security Council are to develop the national security policy for Zimbabwe; to inform and advise the president on matters relating to national security; and to exercise any other functions that may be prescribed in an Act of Parliament.

“The commanders of the security services must provide the National Security Council with such reports on the security situation in Zimbabwe as the Council may reasonably require.”