'Knives out for Zanu-PF's Chinamasa'
25 October 2012, 16:30
Cape Town - Zimbabwe's justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has reportedly been summoned by his party for allegedly misfiring when he conceded that Zanu-PF was headed for defeat in the country’s next elections, a report said on Thursday.
Chinamasa who is also Zanu-PF's negotiator in the Global Political Agreement suggested in a recent interview with the BBC that the military would stage a coup in the event of a win by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
He claimed the army would not allow Tsvangirai to assume the presidency because he would reverse the land reform programme.
According to a NewsDay online report, party sources said Chinamasa had been summoned to explain himself.
The sources said Chinamasa's statements could destroy the reputation of military chiefs, some of whom were already in the spotlight over their negative remarks on Tsvangirai.
Damage control strategy
"The president’s office is very angry over the utterances. The thinking is that this would isolate President Mugabe [Robert Mugabe]," a source said.
The military, equally irked by the utterances, has reportedly ordered presidential spokesperson George Charamba to spearhead a media blitz against Chinamasa.
"This is already in motion. An opinion piece by Tafataona Mahoso in the local state-run Sunday Mail is a damage control strategy emanating from the blitz," the source added.
Mahoso, in his article, described Chinamasa as a traitor working in cahoots with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and the MDC to sabotage the forthcoming elections and block the holding of general elections.
But Chinamasa has since claimed he was misquoted in the interview, saying he only suggested the military would intervene if the winner sought to reverse the land reform programme.