Zimbabwe: Plans Underway to Arrest Tsvangirai for Treason

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Apr 11th, 2013
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attends a Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe"s 70th annual general meeting in Harare, May 29, 2009.

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attends a Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe”s 70th annual general meeting in Harare, May 29, 2009.

By Audrey Charowa, zimeye
There is an undercover, highly funded, premeditated plot to arrest Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on a named date just before elections and charge him with treason, it has emerged.

This development now revealed comes after Justice Miunister Patrick Chinamasa was drilled on live television while in London.

This article analyses the revelations arising from close circuit information the Justice Minister has brought into the open.

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, sat down for an interview with BBC HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur on April 4 2013 at Zimbabwe House in London. In the interview Chinamasa, a close ally to Robert Mugabe, suggested that coalition partner and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, was guilty of treason.

He makes the accusation that Mr Tsvangirai has been holding “secret meetings with NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] generals”. From there he makes the giant leap by suggestively saying “military subjects” were part of the discussions in the secret meetings that neither he nor “embassy staff” nor other ZANU-PF officials attended. It is illogical to presume to know what was discussed at meetings that you know nothing of.

Below is an excerpt of the interview in which Minister Chinamasa links Tsvangirai to an alleged military plot to eliminate ZANU PF:

STEPHEN SACKUR: The British Government is very clear that Zimbabwe is not a colony. What The British Government and others want to see is that your rhetorical commitment to democracy is matched by a real commitment and they worry about words you have used in the recent past. When it was asked recently of you whether you would accept the opposition leader now member of the unity government, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the next elected leader of Zimbabwe, were he to win the summer’s presidential elections you said “He cannot win! He has been campaigning and mobilising against the interests of Zimbabwe. If anyone says ‘When I come into power I’m going to reverse fundamental things like land reform’ You said “The military has every right to respond by saying “YOU ARE ASKING FOR TROUBLE.”

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  [nodding] Let me put it this way; and don’t put statements out of context. The first statement I give you is that the ZANU-PF accepts the will of the people. The second point…

STEPHEN SACKUR: [interrupting] So to be clear…

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  The will of the people will be respected…

STEPHEN SACKUR: [clarifying] Including the will of the people to elect Morgan Tsvangirai should they choose to do so?

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  Let me put it this way as ZANU-PF; I not give the possibility that Tsvangirai will win. I campaign to win. [emphatically] I campaign to win.

STEPHEN SACKUR: Sure, but if you’re a democrat you have to accept that…

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  [interrupting combatively] I campaign to win. I campaign to win and we are going to win. But let me just go back to the issue of context. Tsvangirai has been moving around holding secret meetings with generals from the NATO countries without advising his colleagues in Government. What in fact he was discussing, what basically military subjects he was raising with them… That creates the impression, isn’t it that he is in fact he is part of the agenda to effect regime change…


PATRICK CHINAMASA:[speaking over interviewer] .. and therefore it creates…


PATRICK CHINAMASA:  [speaking over interviewer] …difficulty

STEPHEN SACKUR: [incredulous] Minister, you are the minister of Justice. I cannot take seriously what you just said because if you were serious about what you just said…

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  [grunts nodding]

STEPHEN SACKUR: [incredulous]…You would be accusing Morgan Tsvangirai of Treason and in fact Tsvangirai is a very senior member of the government of which you are a part. So I cannot take that seriously.

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  No we are in a coalition. We are in a coalition and being in a coalition does not allow you to do things what…which other colleagues in the coalition don’t know. And this is what has been happening. He has been gallivanting on western..in western capitals, holding meetings and he does not brief his colleagues on what those meetings are. [feigning outrage] And in fact when he goes to these meetings, he excludes embassy staff from those meetings! Now that raises suspicions surely(?)

STEPHEN SACKUR: Well you voiced those suspicions and another ZANU-PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said “If Tsvangirai wins it will be a real mess” He said “What happened in Libya and Syria can also happen here. There will be deaths”. That is nothing but scare tactics…

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  No no no its nothing to do with scare tactics. Its merely recognising, in my view, the history of our country. That ZANU-PF is the pioneer is the movement that brought democracy to our country.

STEPHEN SACKUR: You’re telling the people that if they do not vote for your party…

PATRICK CHINAMASA:  [speaking over interviewer] And that democracy. That democracy is defended by our military people some of whom were in the liberation struggle.

STEPHEN SACKUR: You are telling your fellow countrymen that if they do not vote for your party there will be mass bloodshed in your country.

Excerpt of interview ends…

In my humble estimation Chinamasa was continuing with laying the ground work for a charge of high treason against Morgan Tsvangirai who his boss, Robert Mugabe, can’t possibly beat fairly in the next presidential elections. Under the current constitution high treason in Zimbabwe can result in the death penalty as sentence. This may also provide another reason why, the new constitution which was approved by a majority of 94.49% of voters in the recently concluded referendum, has moved with grindingly slow snail’s pace on its journey to becoming law.

Readers should be reminded that in December 2010 Johannes Tomana, the Mugabe appointed attorney general, said he would engage a commission of five lawyers to examine whether disclosed exposés in leaked US embassy cables amounted to a breach of the constitution after confidential talks with US diplomats were revealed by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organisation. Tomana boasted to the Zanu-PF controlled Herald newspaper saying “With immediate effect, I am going to instruct a team of practicing lawyers to look into the issues that arise from the WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks appear to show a treasonous collusion between local Zimbabweans and the aggressive international world, particularly the United States.” Mr Tomana has not disclosed whether he has closed this investigation on these ‘treasonous’ charges so one can only rightly deduce that the investigation is on-going.

Understand, dear reader, that the late member of parliament for Chipinge, Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole of ZANU-Ndonga suffered a similar fate after challenging Mugabe for Zimbabwe’s presidency. In 1996 he withdrew from the presidential race shortly prior, citing Zanu-PF interference. Suggestions, much like Chinamasa’s postulation  of treason, were made against Mr Sithole  prior to charges being filed.  The state alleged that he was bitter at losing the 1996 election. He was in December of 1997 tried and convicted of conspiring to ‘assassinate’ Mugabe and the government subsequently prohibited him from attending parliament. Mr Sithole was granted the right to appeal, but the case never went to the Supreme Court. At the time most observers believed that the charges were part of a personal hate campaign waged by Mugabe. He was allowed bail due to his fading health and he consequently died aged 80years on December 12, 2000.

Anyone with half a brain can be charged with treason in Zimbabwe, just ask Munyaradzi Gwisai former MDC member and university lecturer. Gwisai and 45 others were dragged before the courts to answer charges of treason. Their crime? They attended a lecture on 19 February 2011 that showed a video of the Egyptian part of the Arab spring. The lecture asked “what lessons can be learnt?” – which the prosecution presumed to mean they were planning a similar revolt in Zimbabwe. Notice the giant leaps in their logic?

Chinamasa’s latest accusation of treason would not be Mr Tsvangirai’s first treason trial if charges are brought by the state. Remember that in 2002 Ari Ben-Menashe the Iranian born Israeli  alleged that Morgan Tsvangirai had requested him to help “eliminate” President Robert Mugabe. Ben-Menashe produced a questionably grainy videotape of discussions between himself and Mr. Tsvangirai shot in London, UK and Montreal Canada, where Mr Tsvangirai seemed to ask for Ben-Menashe’s assistance as a political consultant. Unbeknownst to Tsvangirai, Ari Ben-Menashe’s Montreal Company at the time, Dickens and Madson, was working for Mugabe, and the tapes of the ambiguous conversation were passed to the Zimbabwean authorities, who charged Mr Tsvangirai with treason. Judge Paddington Garwe who oversaw the trial dismissed the prosecution’s star witness, Ari Ben-Menashe, as “rude, unreliable, and contemptuous.” Tsvangirai was exonerated in October 2004 after the judge acknowledged the he [Tsvangirai] had not used the word “eliminate” to mean that he wanted Mugabe to be assassinated.

Its seems awfully strange that all of Mugabe’s serious political opponents get charged with the crime of treason at some point. Could it be that it carries the death penalty as a sentence which makes it an easy way to eliminate an opponent?

In closing I’ll use the words of a dejected Stephen Sackur who at one point during his interview with Chinamasa said “I am beginning to wonder whether the idea that change has taken root in Zimbabwe has been over-done as we have this conversation.” Truly, the only thing that has changed in Zimbabwe since the bloody 2008 election is government stationery which reflects names of office bearers. It has been business as usual for Zanu-PF et al. Tsvangirai can now be arrested at anytime from any location within Zimbabwe.


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