The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday denied rumours of an “imminent military coup” and singled out three top clerics along with opposition politicians and journalists as “merchants of discord” at a news conference attended by securocrats.
Addressing the surprise press conference, Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe name-dropped US-based preacher Nathan Humbyrd of Miracle Ministries, Jesus Revelation Ministries leader Apostle Talent Farai Chiwenga and Simon Chiloh of Jesus Christ Ministries, saying the men of cloth were provoking unrest through religious sermons and aiding a destabilisation agenda.
He said they were part of a group of civil-society players, diplomats, opposition politicians and online media platforms believed to have been recruited to push for a National Transitional Authority.
Said the minister: “The government has noted with grave concern these rumours suggesting an imminent military coup d’état in the country. The government would like to unequivocally debunk and dismiss these rumours with the contempt they deserve.”
“The purveyors of this false coup narrative claim former Zanu PF members who fell by the wayside and largely went into self-imposed exile at the advent of the new dispensation in November 2017 are coming together in a united front with some named senior government leaders, some members of the security forces and elements of the opposition formations,” continued Minister Kazembe.
“This is in a bid to taint the image of the president, to undermine the legitimacy of the president and to render the country ungovernable.”
He added: “Of course nothing could be further from the true reality of Zimbabwe’s security situation, now and for the foreseeable future. Indeed, both claims of a military coup d’état and an NTA in the making amount to mere agenda-setting by merchants of discord amongst our people with the support of their foreign handlers. They are completely unfounded.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no coup in the making, nor is there any form of transitional authority or inclusive government that is contemplated by the new dispensation except in the fertile imagination of the purveyors of this false narrative.”
Minister Kazembe singled out former Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who fled Zimbabwe after former President Robert Mugabe was ousted in a November 2017 military coup and replaced by President Mnangagwa, as well as MDC Alliance deputy chairman Job Sikhala, whom he described as the “purveyors of this falsehood and a coterie of their accomplices who we are aware of.”
“They must not to cry foul when the long arm of Zimbabwean law catches up with them in due course,” Kazembe railed, as he claimed that Zimbabwean activists writing on social media had also become part of what he described as an “illegal and subversive bandwagon under the control of certain diplomatic missions.”
“This narrative, which also sets an agenda for and promotes negative political activism, including coordinated fake abductions and media campaigns, has of late roped in several self-proclaimed local and international prophets. These include one US-based Nathan Humbryd of the so-called Miracle Ministries, Talent Chiwenga a self-styled rabid anti-Government Harare First Street preacher, Simon Chiloh of the so-called Deeds of Christ Ministries and a few others,” said Minister Kazembe.
Online news organisations Nehanda Radio, ZimEye and Gambakwe Media were named as part of the plot.
Earlier Wednesday, police arrested three MDC Alliance Youth Assembly activists including Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, accusing them of faking their abduction on May 13 to give the government a bad name.
Kazembe said the “fake abductions” were being coordinated with some foreign embassies, which he did not name. He said the authorities would tackle those spreading a “medley of falsehoods”.
“Most intriguingly, there has concurrently evolved a palpable pattern whereby certain foreign missions are now in the habit of misleading their capitals through purported intelligence gathered from these same dubious sources,” Kazembe claimed, while accusing some western diplomats of “jettisoning any semblance of impartiality.”
Zimbabwe, he insisted, “is stable and peaceful internally.”
Meanwhile, Apostle Chiwenga, who is not new to controversy, has since responded to Minister Kazembe’s warning saying what the securocrats did in labelling him as “a self-styled rabid anti-Government” preacher, was yet another demonstration of desperation by the government.
Watch Apostle Chiwenga’s full statement below:
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