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'Grace Mugabe instructed the shutdown of internet in Zimbabwe'

29 Jul 2019 at 14:05hrs | Views
Former First Lady Grace Mugabe instructed the then Minister of Cyber Security Patrick Chinamasa to shutdown social media during the height of the bloody military coup in November 2017.

Hagiographer Douglas Rogers in his book Two weeks in November vividly captures the moment when Grace and Robert Mugabe made the phone call to Chinamasa but the Minister refused to take their instruction and dropped the phone.

Read the thrilling incident below:

According to detailed accounts by Reuters and the Guardian, by 7pm Grace Mugabe is getting nervous too.

Driving back from her Mazowe estate that evening, she sees tanks on the streets and a roadblock manned not by police, but by soldiers. Her Mercedes Maybach is allowed through but once back at the Blue Roof she confers with her husband, who has just returned from that cabinet meeting.

Then she makes a call. Significantly, it's about message control: she calls the minister in charge of cyber security and asks him to shut down Zimbabwe's social media – WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.

The minister tells her that's not his remit; that she must contact the State Security Minister, who oversees the intelligence agencies. "No one will stand for a coup. It cannot happen," Grace tells him.

Then Mugabe's voice comes on the line: "As you have heard from Amai (Mother), is there anything that can be done?"

The man gives the same response – it's the responsibility of state security – and then the line goes dead. For the first time in a long time, the Mugabes are desperate.

The closest they've come to this feeling before is back in 2008, after Mugabe lost the election that year to the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. At the time the president was unsure what to do.

Concede defeat and relinquish control? Or find a way to stay longer? He chose the latter, persuaded by his generals, who helped massage the vote tallies to force a runoff.

The run-off was brutal: a violent campaign of terror in which the military command, Chiwenga and Shiri leading the way, sent soldiers and militias in the dead of night to assault, brutalize and intimidate rural voters into voting the right way.

The campaign got so ugly that Tsvangirai ended up conceding the run-off to stop the bloodshed. Want another dark irony about that night? Mugabe's campaign manager in 2008 was ED, and he worked with those commanders on that violent response.

He would become Defence Minister soon afterwards. Now Mugabe was without this man, his ace, who had been by his side almost 50 years. That man was ED.

Source - Byo24News
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