Connect with us


Former Nigerian President Obasanjo says it was a military coup in Zimbabwe



FORMER Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as a millitary leader between 1976 and 1979, says Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa seized power through a millitary coup that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe in 2017, the Zimbabwe Independent was told.

This came as Obasanjo yesterday helped launch a book titled Democracy Works: Turning Politics to Africa’s Advantage, co-authored with MDC deputy chairperson Tendai Biti, Liberia’s former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Greg Mills from the Brenthurst Foundation and American Jewish University president Jeffrey Herbst.

A consignment of the books was reportedly seized by the state at the airport in the capital yesterday, barely two weeks after suspected security agents confiscated copies of the book ahead of its planned launch in the capital.

In an exclusive interview with the Independent yesterday, Obasanjo, who first rose to power in Nigeria in 1976 after General Murtal Mohammed was assassinated, said Mnangagwa attempted to disguise the millitary coup that toppled Mugabe in November 2017 fearing punitive action from the region and African Union (AU).

Mugabe was deposed after the military, then commanded by General Constantino Chiwenga – now vice-president – took control of key state institutions and placed him under house arrest at his “Blue Roof” residence. The military raided the homes of his key backers, former finance minister Ignatius Chombo, former local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and former higher education minister Jonathan Moyo.

Chombo was arrested and tortured, while Moyo and Kasukuwere’s homes were sprayed with bullets before they left the country running scared.

“I figure the military, it appears, kept saying the thing was not a coup because they knew that if they said it is a coup the AU has definite decisions and action against coups,” Obasanjo said.

“So they kept saying it is not a coup, it is not a coup, because they did not want to call it a coup. But if it is masterminded by the millitary, which removes the incumbent, what do you call it? Half millitary, half coup, half succession?”

Obasanjo, who in 2003, barred Mugabe from attending a Commonwealth summit hosted by Nigeria nudging Zimbabwe to quit the club, said he did not “regret” the decision he made at the time.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 after Mugabe was accused of rigging the presidential vote while viciously clamping down on the opposition.

“Why should I regret? It was not me, it was a Commonwealth decision,” Obasanjo, who started his second spell as Nigeria’s president in 1999 until 2007, said.

The career soldier, credited for steering Nigeria back on the democracy path, said shortly after his arrival in the country, he had spoken to Mugabe on the telephone, in a conversation he described

as “warm”.

“I have just spoken to him. He is doing very well, I will see him when I come back again,” Obasanjo said.

Quizzed on what the former leaders spoke about and whether Mugabe missed being in power, Obasanjo said: “you should ask him.”

Sources, who were seated with Obasanjo when he spoke to Mugabe, said former first lady Grace Mugabe was the first to speak to the former Nigerian leader whom he invited to visit the Mugabes’ residence in the affluent Borrowdale suburb.

But with another launch of Democracy Works scheduled in Malawi, Obasanjo could not make it to the Blue Roof, reassuring the Mugabes that he would soon pay them a visit.

“It was a very pleasant telephone conversation between the two leaders. Basically they just exchanged pleasantries.

“First it was Grace who spoke to Obasanjo, inviting him to come to Blue Roof. But Obasanjo was due to fly to Malawi and he could not make it,” a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Independent.

Obasanjo, as Nigeria’s military leader between 1976 and 1979, recounted how he had helped end an internecine feud between Mugabe, then Zanu-PF leader and the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, who was the leader of-PF-Zapu during the country’s armed struggle against colonial rule.

He explained that during that time, Nigeria was extending support towards the two armed wings orchestrating the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe.

“We gave them money. At that time there were two liberation forces, Zanu and Zapu. Zanu led by Mugabe and Zapu by the late Joshua Nkomo. Initially, we gave them money. We also offered them military training, until they started turning their weapons against each other.

“So I invited both of them to Nigeria and I had two pistols with me. I said to them look, we are not in this struggle on ideological basis.

“If there was any ideology, the ideology was that the black man was not inferior to any other human being. So if the money and weapons we give you are used to turn against each other, let me give each one of you a pistol. Whoever survives goes to finish the struggle. And I remember Nkomo saying you have a unique solution to a unique problem,” Obasanjo recounted, noting that during his first spell in power, Nigeria was channelling 5% of its annual budget towards supporting the liberation struggle in southern Africa.

In 2013, then as the AU observer mission leader, Obasanjo said the presidential elections held in Zimbabwe that year, which Mugabe won, had passed the credibility test, though the opposition disputed its result.

— Zimbabwe Independen



Politics12 hours ago

Khupe’s Deputy Was Trapped With S_x & Money – Hopewell Chin’ono

Prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said that former MDC-T vice president Obert Gutu was trapped by State agents, thus his unexpected...

Politics12 hours ago

Bad News:Civil Servants Salary Hike To Hurt The Economy

Zimbabwe’s faltering economy could suffer serious fresh shocks after the government was this week forced to bloat its already unsustainable...

Pictures~Vidz12 hours ago

See Pictures:Floods hit Hwange, property destroyed

Unconfirmed reports say heavy rains have caused flooding in some parts of Hwange. These are some of the pictures of...

Courts14 hours ago

Defence Ministry official bought 4 houses, 25 taxis after looting US$20m

A Harare magistrate yesterday heard that an accountant with the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Simbarashe Zvineyi (36),...

Celebs19 hours ago

PICS: DJ Zinhle HOT Body Breaks The Internet (Never Been Seen Pics Of Her Before)

DJ Zinhle breaks the internet once again and this time her body gets all the attention. The number 1 female...

Politics19 hours ago

Breaking: Gutu Quits MDC T. What Happens To POLAD?

In a shocking developement,MDC-T ‘s Vice President has announced this morning that he has quit the party with immediate effect....

Politics20 hours ago

‘You’re A Dunderhead’: Gutu, Mawarire In Nasty ‘War’ Over Churches

Harare Live witnessed a nasty war of words broke out on Twitter yesterday between spokesperson of the National Patriotic Front...

Local20 hours ago

One Night Of S3x With Pr0stitute Ends In Total Chaos

A PROSTITUTE from Bulawayo has appeared in court for allegedly stealing over US$4 000 and a cellphone from her client...

Local20 hours ago

LATEST On Marry Mubaiwa And Chiwenga Court Case: Fresh Details Emerge

The dispute over custody of children and access to a matrimonial home pitting Marry Mubaiwa and her ex-husband Acting President...

Entertainment21 hours ago

He fled Zimbabwe as a teenager, and spent 20 years seeking asylum in Leicester, but now has his dream job

Linton Magume says he was 17-years-old when he left Zimbabwe after rebelling against the government of Robert Mugabe, and that...



Copyright © 2019