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ABC of knowing Mbudziyadhura munyaya dzematongerwo enyika

22 Aug 2021 at 19:38hrs | Views
Not many zealous seemingly political Zimbabweans know @daddyhope, better called Mbudziyadhura. Let me measure for you the depth of his political convictions and what sets him hissing. I will do so from our own experience ZANU-PF and Government.

One "dayed" - as we used to say in some folk song during our primary school days, I was summoned by Vice President CDGN Chiwenga to our Munhumutapa Offices. At the time, I was at State House. He wanted me to present myself there and then. I did just that.

We had just emerged from Harmonized Elections and there had been violent clashes involving the opposition and security structures. In return, the anti-Zimbabwean western propaganda was going for broke, and we were gasping to regain control of the narrative. False images of alleged State brutality were being posted literally hourly on social media, all to overwhelm the nascent Second Republic. The strategy was a simple one from a propaganda point of view: engage several make-up artists who manufacture horror images in brisk succession to a point where a narrative of gory brutality sticks, and with such rapidity that the Police - then still under reconstruction in the wake of events of 2017 - would simply get overwhelmed and too paralysed to investigate any alleged case. Several 'safe houses' were established in different suburbs of different towns and cities, principally in the capital, Harare. It is a trick MDC had used in the past, validated by medical reports from Doctors for Human Rights and some organisation called CSU, Counselling Services Unit which purported to deal with cases of acute trauma.

The favoured outlet for Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights was The Avenues Clinic, a healthcare-giver of impeccable integrity and unassailable market lead on health matters. Both the Doctors for Human Rights and CSU, as with many other regime change outfits, got funding from US Embassy, whether directly through USAID and its agencies, or indirectly and with support from many western governments including the UK Govt, through accounts ran by some Nordic countries. In rare yet notable cases, funds would be routed through UN agencies. The strategy was perfect and formidable: the victim was a political darling of the West; those who "sutured" wounds of torture were medical experts associated with a prime care-giver; records of trauma and disorder were done by the CSU led by one Dr Lovemore; and lastly because this was good, topical copy, the media was hungry for the "story", too hungry to verify!!

In any event, huge monies were changing hands between and within newsrooms, thereby inducing wilful blindness in our journalism. For the media, it was a tremble wham: they felt avenged against ZANU-PF they had been trained and cultivated to hate from cub days to full professional adulthood; there was always a handsome payment after lifting up a story on each outrage - received image and text. And these stories came into newsrooms rapid succession such that gathering news became superfluous, costless. The United States Embassy would rely on its staffers like Sizani Weza and a few ex-journalists they had employed or smothered with handsome retainers, to ensure copy came well-written, and at key moments of the news chain/continuum.

I recall developing visible strains which not even my unkempt hair could cover, let alone disguise. The Second Republic was on trial in its infancy. Every minute mattered. As did every summoning by the top hierarchy.

I sped to Munhumutapa, got into President ED's Office, which is where Vice President was. I had left the President at State House. With the Vice President we're two gentlemen, one very tall, of fine skin and remarkably dark; the other was tall enough, and seemed to compensate for his defeat in height by a light skin and baby face. Of course there was the Vice President I knew from way back, and before his recent ascendency to near-zenith. Recall that at that time, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Chairman and Defence Minister Muchingura, a few other ministers and several officials were away on treatment, after a grenade attack in Bulawayo which was meant to erase the whole leadership. I had survived that attack fortuitously. I raise this matter to highlight the pressure we were under, at a time when the leadership was sparse and thin on the ground. Security arms were still to achieve competent coherence after the 2017 fallout. ZANU-PF and its Government were at their most vulnerable, too vulnerable to afford an extra load by way of the hostile, media-led onslaught they were being subjected to by the West, led by the omnipotent, deep-pocketed US Mission here in Harare I should add that our information side was wobbly, riven by needless schisms we could ill-afford. Anyway, that's a story for another day.

I took my sit, but not before warmly greeting the light-faced gentleman I had recognised, and had worked with as then Secretary for Information and Publicity. It was a false warmth though. We had had several run-ins before. He was always at the heart of efforts to smuggle in western news crews, after the doughty First Republic had taken decision to disallow western media. Again, this policy decision evolved in a rather wobbly fashion: Govt through the Information Ministry sought to enforce this position vigorously; the Party Information Dept had a different view on the same. Often, and quite often, repeatedly, we were at loggerheads, even publicly, to mutual ruin. Fortunately, we would always win; then President sided with me and then Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo. Each time we investigated abetters to this foreign media smuggling ring, the light-faced gentleman would appear, clearer than a silhouette!!!

Fed up, I decided I would tackle him, preferably for worse. I chose my attack day carefully. In one of our Briefing Sessions under the First Republic, I successfully sold the idea of collecting signatures against illegal western sanctions. President Mugabe readily fell in with the proposal; more mature heads were summoned to refine it, including those in the Party. By then Professor Moyo was no longer with Information Ministry. I was tasked to word the petition, which I did effortlessly. Words have never been my problem. A date was set, amidst intense pre-event publicity. The Youth Wing of Zanu-PF, led by Chipanga,and driven by Prof Moyo, then PC Kasukuwere and then Minister Zhuwao, mobilised for the event. By then, the matter had outgrown by control, to be controlled totally by G-40, as did many things and initiatives in the party. It didn't matter much in my view; the fight was was bigger and more important than fissures within ZANU-PF. And because President Mugabe was keynote speaker, the British media - I knew - would never want to miss the event. President Mugabe - vintage Mugabe, let me say - would turn out a beautiful stinger against Tony Blair, rest assured. For all their intense hatred of him, the British media knew Mugabe was good copy anytime, always. Rupert Murdock's Sky News which always wanted to project a veneer of objectivity - I knew - would not miss the opportunity. So, too, wouldn't Channel Four. My trap well-laid and the goat would come to water, unfailingly!!!!

I made sure Mahoso and his ZMC would not clear any British media, to induce them into smuggling themselves in, helped of course by their dutiful media fixer, Hopewell Chin'ono. The day came; so, too, did the Sky News and Channel Four crew, nervous Hopewell in dutiful tow!!!!

I had issued two instructions to our security guys: they should allow the smuggled crews in to cover the event, so our message gets delivered to the intended interlocutor: the British Govt. I primed my boss, President Mugabe, so he would polish his act for a felling blow: by code choice, by diction, by tone and by body language!!! My second instruction to security guys was to create a cordon sanitaire around the President so the Western crews would get no chance of doorstepping the President.

I had a twin objective: to prevent them from running away or diluting the attack on the British establishment and Blair, which attack I knew was as inevitable as it was going to be mordant; two, to drive the media fixer into my trap. Unable to doorstep the President, I knew, the two crews would seek one-on-one with the President. And because they had come in illegally, they would not themselves come directly to the face of the Zimbabwe Establishment. They would send one of my own!!!

After event and acerbic attack on Britain, America and their presidents, past ones especially, the President was whisked away to State House. Bingo!!! Before long, a lanky, light-skinned fella in chubby longs hobbled my way, breaking into a broad, disarming grin when he was within my sight.

"Mister Charamba!!!", he yelled amidst tuneful rifts from late Mtukudzi who was the Star attraction of the day.

"Hesi Hopewell!", I responded, suppressing my seething official anger.

He made known his deputed mission, which was predictable, expected. Let me simply say I downloaded my pent-up anger. Some day, I shall share.

Back to Munhumutapa, I 'warmly' greeted and took my sit. VP took no time in introducing the two gentlemen, starting with Hopewell I knew. The second guest was a Congolese gentleman then with some mining claims in Mashonaland Central. I don't want to disclose his name at this stage.

The Vice President invited the Congolese to spell out his cause, which I summarise as follows: This is my friend, Hopewell. He does some publicity work for our mining business here in Zimbabwe. We have been friends for a very long time and he is a gentleman. (Inside, I winced!).

He approached me with some information which I think will be of interest to your Govt; certainly it will help you deal with the negative press and onslaught you facing, which will not go away anytime soon!!!

Over to you Hopewell!

After the usual protocol preliminaries, Hopewell went straight into his narrative: Zimbabwe was in the middle of a vicious propaganda assault from the West, led by the US Mission here, and combining all western embassies. This attack involves minimum facts and maximum fiction by way of false victims who are currently housed in some safe house in Hatfield and another one in Waterfalls. At the heart of this whole propaganda assault is one Dr Lovemore, and her Counselling Services Unit!!!

She calls herself a clinical psychologist and is well-funded by the US Govt through USAID. Even Nordic countries weigh in, both as direct funders or as conduits for the Brits and Americans. I weighed in, and gave the meeting all I knew about Dr Lovemore and her parentage as a scion of one of the leading pioneer families who came soon after occupation of Zimbabwe. She would have an axe to grind, I intoned! Hopewell was anxious to validate his credentials as an honest man that he had been projected by the Congolese as. To do that, he made an extraordinary offer and gesture to the Vice President: This is Dr Lovemore's cellphone number; call her now and invite her to this meeting so I can repeat my charge in her presence. Vice President, every inch a security man, called the bluff. I was sent to call Dr Lovemore, which I did. She responded. After pleasantries, I then dropped I shocker: Please hold on for Vice President Chiwenga! The poor lady was an audible nervous wreck!!!! Who? Vice President Chiwenga, I emphatically repeated. I knew she could afford to break the call. I took the call to the Vice President who wasted no time in inviting the wreck to a meeting right away. No, she wouldn't come for fear of her life!!! Dr Lovemore, I have a meeting with a group of western ambassadors this afternoon, led by British Ambassador. If you have any security fears, I suggest you come together with them. Govt is facing very serious charges of abductions and torture; we would appreciate if you can share with us the evidence you have so the Police can move in to investigate. We are even prepared to make sure all interviews with victims are done in the presence of ambassadors!!!

Dr Lovemore initially agreed to present herself alongside the envoys. Later she thought otherwise and never reported for the meeting or any other. But our investigations took an added swing and in no time, we were on top on the matter, thanks to our good friend Hopewell!!!

My fingers are numb for the day. I will do Part Two on how we eventually lost Hopewell, our man in many places and spaces!!!

Good evening, my diligent readers!!!!

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