RESPECTED academic Ibbo Mandaza has claimed that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backers approached him to help push for a transitional government that will have been led by the under-fire politician.
Mandaza said he rejected the overtures after he was approached by a South African minister about the proposed National Transitional Authority (NTA).
He said the snub did not go down well with Mnangagwa, who recently described his Sapes Trust as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-linked think-tank during a politburo showdown with Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
The VP accused Moyo of working with Mandaza in an alleged plot to topple President Robert Mugabe.
Mandaza claimed former War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa approached the South African government, through Jeff Radebe, a minister in President Jacob Zuma’s office, seeking support for the NTA.
He said the NTA would have seen Mnangagwa taking over as president, deputised by army commander Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai would have been roped in as prime minister.
“An official from minister Radebe’s office called me to ascertain whether I knew Mutsvangwa and if we were working together on our NTA initiative,” Mandaza said.
“I told him I knew him but we were not working together on the NTA.
“I told him our idea of an NTA was non-partisan and that there was no way we could work with Mutsvangwa, especially with the public knowledge that he was working to impose Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor.
“It is our reaction to the invitation to work on the Mutsvangwa NTA model that incensed Mnangagwa, hence his vilification of Sapes with unfounded allegations that we are a CIA-linked think tank in his shallow politburo presentation.”
Mandaza claimed Mutsvangwa was in South Africa for three months to sell the project some time last year and approached him upon his return.
“I asked him about his claims that we were working together in the NTA. He refused but I told him I had been called by Radebe’s office,” he alleged.
However, Mutswanga yesterday denied ever meeting Radebe and accused Mandaza of lying.
“Oh, Ibbo Super Zezuru: All figment of his imagination,” he exclaimed. “I never met Jeff Radebe. If I have a story with South Africans, I will tell you myself.”
Tsvangirai recently dismissed reports that he had been approached by Mnangagwa’s backers who wanted him to be part of the proposed transitional government.
Mnangagwa is facing an uncertain future after first lady Grace Mugabe accused him of plotting against her husband.
Mugabe early this month stripped the VP of the Justice ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle and Zanu PF is not organising a congress scheduled for December in what is largely seen as another choreographed event to further weaken Mnangagwa.