The late former President Robert Mugabe attempted to reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help quash the coup that deposed him in 2017, The Independent claims.
During the early stages of the coup process, Mugabe offered the presidency to the then commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), Constantino Chiwenga.
Mugabe believed that Chiwenga was the brains behind the coup while then Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had been sacked earlier was the political front.
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Chiwenga reportedly rejected the offer fearing for his security as such a move would be considered treacherous by the other military commanders.
Mugabe is thought to have hoped that that situation could be salvaged after talks with the commanders as well as South Africa’s interest in the unfolding situation.
South African President, Jacob Zuma, had sent State Security Minister Bongani Bongo and Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to Mugabe’s Blue Roof mansion to understand the situation.
The late national hero hardened his stance after he had officiated at the Zimbabwe Open University graduation ceremony after senior members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) told him that, clearly, the coup was complete and that, after all, some intelligence officers had been killed. The Independent’s sources are quoted as saying:
After the graduation ceremony, they gave him a list with nine names of people whom they alleged had been killed.
That shocked him and, when he got home, he started thinking differently from the path of negotiation.
He then reached out to several heads of state in the region to intervene, but they refused.
When reports filtered through that the army wanted to storm Mugabe’s Borrowdale mansion, South Africa was prepared to despatch troops to Harare.
After regional leaders had abandoned Mugabe to his fate, the nonagenarian reached out to Russian leader Vladimir Putin through his then Vice President, Phelekezela Mphoko. The report adds:
Mugabe also tried to reach Vladimir Putin, through former vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko. He asked Mphoko to call Putin to come and quash the coup. That did not work because African leaders did not prefer that route.