Mugabe’s hawks in SA for talks

PRETORIA - Robert Mugabe's most trusted hawks, former Rural Housing and Social Amenities Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Policy Implementation Minister Webster Shamu jetted into South Africa to discuss ways of making sure the aged dictator retains the presidency.

The two were accompanied by Zanu (PF) Spokesperson Nathan Shamhuyarira and former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Patrick Zhuwawo (Mugabe’s trusted nephew). They met senior sympathizers from the South African government to discuss strategies to retain Mugabe’s presidency in the anticipated run-off, or to avoid the run-off altogether.

Well placed sources within the top echelons of the President’s office in Harare and Central Intelligence Office confirmed that the four strong men left the country  on Sunday night on the South African Airways flight that landed  in Johannesburg at 8 pm.

Mnangagwa, who was heavily guarded by three intelligence officers, has been tipped to take over from the embattled Mugabe, has been meeting regional leaders in a bid to secure the presidency in the event that Zanu (PF) succeeds in indefinitely postponing a run-off.

Mugabe’s surrogates were scheduled to meet Mbeki’s advisors late Sunday night, among them Local Housing Minister Sydney Mufamadi and Mbeki’s spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga, who are believed to be strongly against Tsvangirai’s presidency. Sources allege that many South African cabinet ministers have been supporting Mugabe’s dictatorship in order to protect their investments which they secured through Zanu (PF) patronage.

It is believed that Mbeki’s acolytes agreed to help stop international observers, such as the European Union, United Nations and Commonwealth, coming to Zimbabwe to monitor the elections to ensure a smooth rigging process.

A senior intelligence officer whose identity has been protected also told The Zimbabwean that the delegation requested a loan of R10 million and over 100 barrels of fuel to facilitate transport during the run-off campaign period.

The source said Mnangagwa had also wanted to meet MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti in Johannesburg to discuss a settlement ,but Biti was otherwise engaged.

He added that Zanu (PF) had ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to delay announcing a run-off date as they plan to postpone the run-off indefinitely and anoint Mnangagwa as the octogenarian leader’s successor.



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