[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Harare junta bios
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Jun 29 14:44:57 BST 2008
Mugabe's hatchet men
The multibillionaires who have Zimbabwe by the throat are right to dread
the people's revenge
June 29, 2008 Edition 2
Basildon Peta, Independent Foreign Service and the DAILY Telegraph
They are the president's hatchet-men. Without them, Robert Mugabe would
not last a day longer in office.
Welcome to the world of Emmerson Mnangagwa, General Constantine
Chiwenga, Augustine Chihuri, Paradzai Zimondi, Perence Shiri and Gideon
Gono. This junta, the Joint Operations Command (JOC), controls Zimbabwe.
When Mugabe lost control of parliament and it became clear that he was
also losing the presidency to Morgan Tsvangirai after the poll on March
29, these six men hurriedly assembled around their octogenarian leader.
In the weeks following, they camped at State House to give their leader
the support he needed. They assured him that they were not about to
surrender the country to an "imperialist stooge".
For five weeks, the announcement of the presidential election results
was stalled while they plotted.
Their first port of call was the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. They
accused its officials of inflating Tsvangirai's share of the vote in
exchange for "British-paid bribes" and ordered the arrest of many
electoral officials on these trumped-up charges. They ordered recounts
in 24 constituencies, hoping these would reverse the takeover of
parliament by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
None of their charges stuck. The recounts only confirmed the
opposition's victory. But, though they could afford to let go of
parliament, there was no way they were going to let go of the presidency
So they unleashed the infamous Operation Makavhoterapapi (For whom did
you vote?) in preparation for the presidential runoff, which had become
necessary because neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai had mustered an outright
majority in the first presidential poll.
Through a well-organised campaign of violence involving uniformed police
and soldiers and thousands of Zanu-PF youth militias, they assured
Mugabe that they would keep Zanu-PF in power. They have surely passed
The first indication that the JOC meant business came soon after March
29, when Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe as its chairman.
The British government was spot-on this week when it identified these
six as the brains behind the mayhem in Zimbabwe.
British government sources warned that action was likely to be taken
against the six by accusing them of running the bloodstained election
campaign aimed at keeping the Zimbabwean president in power.
A source said: "These six are running a regime within a regime. They are
trying to run the election campaign as a military exercise rather than
as a civilian process."
These are Mugabe's hatchet men:
If there should be an indictment in an international criminal court for
the genocidal massacre of at least 20 000 Ndebele in southern Zimbabwe
in the early 1980s, it would have to be that of Mnangagwa, 61, who was
minister of state security at the time.
He has also been named in a United Nations report as being among the
Zimbabweans responsible for the widespread looting of the mineral
resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo during Zimbabwe's military
deployment there to prop up the regime of Laurent Kabila in the late 1990s.
Mnangagwa is all but assured of succeeding Mugabe when the latter
eventually decides to go. His close relationship with Mugabe dates back
to the days of the liberation struggle.
Shiri is the 53-year-old head of the Zimbabwe air force and a veteran of
Zimbabwe's independence struggle.
While Mnangagwa co-ordinated the work of the security forces in
Matabeleland in the early 1980s, Shiri was in charge of the crack North
Korean-trained unit, the Fifth Brigade, which did the killings. His
activities with the Fifth Brigade are well documented by the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace, which has compiled a report on the
He acquired two large farms, one in Bindura, the other in Marondera,
seized from whites ostensibly for the landless, toiling masses, and is
fabulously wealthy from the pillaging of minerals by generals in the Congo.
The findings of the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry, instituted in
1982 to investigate the atrocities of the brigade, were never made
public. The inquiry is reputed to be one reason why Shiri, Mnangagwa and
other army generals would never allow Mugabe to cede power to the
opposition. The commission's report would likely be the basis of a
Chiwenga is the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Force, which has
spearheaded the campaign of violence that has led to the deaths of 86
people, the displacement of more than 200 000 and serious injuries to 10
000. It was Chiwenga who selected the senior officials, who took charge
of the terror campaign, on the basis of their loyalty to Mugabe.
The only person to match Mugabe's rabid anti-opposition rhetoric is this
55-year-old commissioner-general of the Zimbabwe police. At press
conferences, at which he does not wear his police uniform, one would be
excused for thinking that he was Mugabe's deputy in Zanu-PF.
A longtime commissioner of the Zimbabwe police, Chihuri was promoted to
"commissioner-general" recently as a thank-you for converting Zimbabwe's
once promising police force into a military wing of Zanu-PF.
Under Chihuri, the Zimbabwean police turned a blind eye on violence
against the opposition. Police officers say they are under instructions
to arrest any opposition official who turns up at a police station to
complain about Zanu-PF inspired violence.
Chihuri was the brains behind Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out trash),
which was condemned by the UN as a violation of international law after
it left nearly a million people homeless.
Zimondi, the director of the Zimbabwe Prisons Service, is also a retired
senior air force officer.
Together with Chihuri, Shiri and Chiwenga, he has made it clear that he
will never salute a "sell-out", referring to Tsvangirai.
Zimondi personally leads the campaigns for Mugabe in barracks and police
camps, and is credited with creating a campaign to force army and police
officials to support Mugabe in early postal ballots. The ballots were
filled out in front of designated army and police superiors.
The MDC has declared that, on assuming power, the first person it will
arrest is this man, the chief of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
A close family friend of Mugabe, with whom he frequently holidays in
Malaysia, Gono is also Mugabe's personal banker and the man believed to
know most about where the millions stolen by Mugabe and the military
chiefs are stashed in Asia.
He sits on the JOC to ensure the provision of money for all agreed
projects for sustaining Mugabe in power. War veterans and ruling party
militia cash their pay cheques at the central bank.
Gono has kept Zimbabwe's money-printing machines running at top speed
and is blamed for the country's hyper-inflation, calculated by banks at
more than 14 million percent.
Though he has expressed mildly dissenting views occasionally, Gono's
loyalty to Mugabe and the First Family remains unquestionable.
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