George Charamba, spokesperson for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and former spokesperson to former president Robert Mugabe has narrated Mugabe’s last days in power. According to Charamba, Mugabe was a given a “chilling warning” by the command element of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) that the populace and the students were baying for his blood and wanted to storm his “Blue Roof” residence. The ZDF said that it would not turn its guns on civilians and warned that Mugabe could face the same fate as Libya’s former ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi was captured and killed in 2011 after rival forces found him hiding in a drainage pipe. Speaking to the Daily News, Charamba said:
During the negotiations, we were shuttling between Josiah Magamba Tongogara (former KGVI) barracks and the Blue Roof (Mugabe’s residence). We were summoned to Josiah Magamba Tongogara to meet the command element of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, this was myself, (Catholic priest) Father Mukonori and Aaron Nhepera, who was the deputy director-general of the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation). And we were given an appraisal of the situation.
They gave us the scenarios that were at play, which were that the povoand also students were threatening to go to the Blue Roof and that there was a possibility of harm to the president. The second was the party had instituted impeachment procedures which were going to take him from being a liberation icon to a common criminal.
The commanders sent us with a very chilling message, they said ‘please go and get the president to appreciate the gravity of the situation out there.’ There was the possibility of a Libyan scenario where the president would have been dragged out of the Blue Roof and lynched. It was going to be possible because the soldiers said ‘we cannot turn our guns on civilians who are marching against the president and spill blood.’ I started visualising an image of Muammar Gaddafi, I literally went argh argh!
The second scenario of impeachment, they said ‘if the impeachment starts, we cannot stop it because that would be to start a coup d’état.’
The third message was to say ‘we are fast losing control of the process.’ The process was to have Mugabe restored as substantive leader of this country and then decide on his own to say I am tired I am handing over power. But there were those processes that were taking place and if they would have happened, there was no longer any legacy to restore.
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