Fugitive former Cabinet ministers Walter Mzembi and Saviour Kasukuwere, believed to be holed up in South Africa, are at the centre of an attempt to push for regime change in Zimbabwe to salvage their waning political fortunes and ward off criminal charges they are facing in Harare.
Mr Kasukuwere posted a statement on his Twitter account in which he made threats of regime change yesterday after a magistrates’ court acceded to an application to have his Nyanga property seized after he skipped bail.
“I said it will be rough, but it is gonna be rougher but thereafter we will have a ZW (Zimbabwe) we all want. This monopoly and idiocy shall be challenged. With or without 2023 it is coming. Tatamba zvakwana,” said Mr Kasukuwere.
Another fugitive former Cabinet minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, responded confirming the regime change plan by Mr Kasukuwere.
“Kasukuwere vows to take his fight to Mnangagwa after his property is seized,” said Prof Moyo.
The trio were part of a G40 cabal that were abusing their authority taking advantage of their proximity to the First Family led by former president Mugabe.
Mr Mzembi reportedly roped in South African-based Zimbabwe businessman Mr Mutumwa Mawere, as well as political activists Mr Dhewa Mavhinga and Ms Miriam Mutizwa, in his quest for regime change through engagement with the United States and the European Union.
The duo also intended to drag South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to court as part of eforts to exert pressure on Pretoria to act against Zimbabwean authorities and also use South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters fronted by Mr Julius Malema.
This is contained in a leaked WhatsApp chat between Mr Mzembi and Mr Mawere which has gone viral on social media.
Ironically, Mr Mzembi has not been attending trial in Harare ostensibly because he was bedridden in South Africa, at least according his lawyer, Mr Job Sikhala.
The chats also showed that contrary to claims by Mr Mzembi’s lawyers, he has been up and running in South Africa carrying out his private business.
Although Mr Mzembi was not available for comment, Mr Mawere acknowledged the chat but denied that their discussion was about regime change.
“What does regime change mean? What should be the shared morality? Should any question about the choices and conduct of certain Government officials be construed as part of regime change? Yet the voices are missing on what matters to Zimbabwe’s future. Do we need sanctions to ignite positivity? Zimbabweans need no toxic laws to inspire creativity,” he said.
Mr Mawere maintained that Mr Mzembi was not well and until his last discussion with the former Cabinet minister he had not had any engagement with him “for years”.
But the chats showed that Mr Mzembi had been carrying out his business and fulfilling agreed appointments.
This is shown by his response to Mr Mawere who had greeted him.
“My apologies on today, was in PTA until late, we may have to move our coffee chat to the weekend when it’s all relaxed a bit, what’s your take,” said Mr Mzembi.
In the chat Mr Mawere asked Mr Mzembi “Did you go through the stuff?”
Mr Mzembi responded: “I have been going through the information you sent. My summary is a regime change in Harare is part of the solution if not the ultimate solution.”
Regarding President Ramaphosa, Mr Mzembi and Mr Mawere agreed that they should drag President Ramaphosa to court as part of measures to ensure that he “recalibrate regional solidarity”.
In one of the chat, Mr Mzembi said: “(President) Ramaphosa as our host we need him. We just need to bring him up to speed with the Zimbabwean question. He needs to recalibrate regional solidarity.”
Mr Mawere responded “Do you not agree that if he is put to the test in court then he will be forced to take the issue seriously? What do you think of convincing the EFF to take the front end of it?”
Mr Mzembi implored Mr Mawere to be proactive: “As long as you don’t front it yourself the optics have to be right.”
On sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States, Mr Mzembi proposed that they would use Mr Mawere’s case, that he be compensated as a pre-condition for removal of the illegal embargo.
Government took over Mr Mawere’s business concern in terms of the Reconstruction of State Indebted Companies and Insolvency Act after it felt that it was heavily exposed.
“We have to place your issue before the USA in a manner where it becomes topical politically and linked to removal of sanctions. Equally EU. So Dhewa (Mavhinga) will be key if we package it properly,” said Mr Mzembi.
In the chats, Mr Mzembi also talked about how discussion of a bailout for Zimbabwe by South Africa could be derailed. They also discussed how to engage the white farmers who lost their case against Zimbabwe before a Sadc Tribunal.
It was agreed that the email that they planned to send to the farmers would also be copied to Mr Mavhinga and Ms Mutizwa.