. . . as Chinamasa’s name pops up again

JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa was part of the Simba Makoni plot to wrestle power from President Robert Mugabe, ruling party politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa confirmed at the weekend.

Dabengwa, who on Saturday joined Makoni’s presidential bid, said Chinamasa attended meetings in Cape Town and Pretoria late last year where it was agreed that there was need for leadership renewal in Zanu PF.

President Thabo Mbeki first used the expression “leadership renewal” five years ago.

Apart from Chinamasa and Dabengwa, Makoni also attended the meetings.

Addressing a star rally for Makoni at White City Stadium where he announced his decision to dump Zanu PF, Dabengwa revealed that there were many senior ruling party cadres who were involved in the breakaway of the former deputy secretary of finance.

“We held very wide consultations on this issue with a number of people,” Dabengwa said. “A number of people whom we consulted agreed to the (breakaway) idea and that is when we reached the agreement that Makoni be supported through and through,” he said. “Chinamasa and Makoni would come to my hotel room in Pretoria and we would discuss the groundwork that had been covered and we agreed on what was supposed to be done next. This happened for quite some time, up until we ended up with Makoni submitting his papers as the presidential candidate.”

Dabengwa claimed that Chinamasa embraced the idea of Makoni challenging Mugabe when they met in separate meetings in Cape Town and Pretoria where the strategy was drawn up.

Chinamasa, Dabengwa claimed, had agreed to be part of a think-tank to help Makoni strategise on how to dislodge Mugabe.

Repeated efforts yesterday to obtain comment from Chinamasa and national party chairperson John Nkomo were in vain.

However, Chinamasa has been executing his party duties since Makoni announced his presidential ambitions on February 5.

This is not the first time that Chinamasa has been implicated in manoeuvres in Zanu PF to unseat Mugabe. In November 2004 Chinamasa was part of the famous Tsholotsho Declaration that wanted to re-arrange the ruling party’s presidium and lay the ground for Mugabe’s smooth succession.

Vice-President Joseph Msika at the launch of Zanu PF’s election campaign last Friday vehemently denied any links to Makoni and went further to exonerate Nkomo, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Dabengwa.

But 24 hours later, Msika was forced to eat humble pie after Dabengwa confirmed that he was backing Makoni. –Loughty Dube