HomePoliticsMugabe knew of Tsholotsho'

Mugabe knew of Tsholotsho’

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, who claimed he didn’t know of the November 2004 Tsholotsho meeting called to decide the Zanu PF succession issue, calling it a “clandestine” affair, was in fact fully briefed on it, former government spokesman Jonathan Moyo has said.

ONG>In his disclosures about the ruling party’s power struggle published in this newspaper today (See Page 13), Moyo said Mugabe was kept fully informed of the developments around the issue.

In the wake of the Tsholostho meeting on November 18, 2004 designed to block the ascendancy of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Mugabe lashed out at members of the Zanu PF faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa for acting unprocedurally and trying to stage a palace coup.

This was followed by a ferocious purge which affected a number of high profile Zanu PF politicians, including Moyo.

However, Moyo said Mugabe was aware of the Tsholotsho plan. He said Zanu PF national commissar Elliot Manyika chaired meetings in Harare and Mugabe’s rural home area of Zvimba where the plan was discussed in August 2004. Mugabe was kept abreast of events through briefings by Manyika, he said.

“What is particularly significant is the fact that the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration and their procedural implications were the subject of three joint meetings of Zanu PF provincial chairmen and provincial governors under the chairmanship of Elliot Manyika, the party’s national commissar,” Moyo said. 

“This is very significant in so far as it proves that there was nothing clandestine or untoward about the application of the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration on November 18, 2004 because it was the culmination of properly constituted party structures with the knowledge of the top leadership, including President Mugabe.”

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday refused to comment on the Tsholotsho drama, saying he preferred “constructive dialogue” rather than “such kind of things”.

“I want to discuss something constructive rather than these kind of things like Tsholotsho,” Mutasa said.

Moyo said after the Zvimba meeting on August 30, where what became known as the Tsholotsho plan was adopted, Manyika briefed Mnangagwa about the outcome of the deliberations of provincial chairmen and provincial governors, “an outcome whose essence was to adopt the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration”.

“On the same day, August 30, 2004, Mnangagwa sent a letter to provincial chairmen advising them to notify all party structures under them about the convening of the 4th annual people’s congress due in December 2004 and the business of that congress including the election of the party leadership and the procedures thereof,” Moyo said.  

“Also by this time, through the formal structures of the party, a circular from Mnangagwa had already gone out on August 30, 2004 advising provincial chairmen to prepare for the December 2004 congress in terms of the party’s constitution which did not have a provision reserving one of the positions of vice-president and second secretary for a woman.”

Moyo said subsequent communications in the aftermath of the Tsholotsho agreement were entirely procedural and approved by Mugabe.

“On November 11, 2004, in consultation with Manyika as the political commissar and with the specific approval of Mugabe, Mnangagwa sent another letter to provincial chairmen, as a follow-up to his August 30, 2004 letter as required by the party’s constitution, informing them about the procedures for the nomination of the top four leadership positions of the party,” he said.

“By this time everyone in the party knew that the nominations for the top four leadership positions in the party and central committee members would be nominated by provincial executives on November 21, 2004. 

“More specifically, it was common knowledge in the party the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration would apply as supported by at least seven and possibly eight provinces of the party.”

All these things, Moyo said, would not have happened, especially in a party like Zanu PF, without
Mugabe’s knowledge. — Staff Writer.

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