Mugabe coup claim mystery

HARARE - Mystery surrounds stunning claims emanating from South Africa that six Zimbabweans suspected of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government are being held by that country’s authorities following their arrest two weeks ago.

Determined efforts by the Daily News yesterday to get more information on the claims from both South African and Zimbabwean law enforcement agencies, to establish their veracity, failed to yield results.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba politely declined to comment on the issue, saying she was still to be briefed on the case.

South African authorities similarly asked for patience from the media, adding that it was premature to make “definitive pronouncements” on the matter.

But with Zimbabwe fumbling on a knife edge that has seen growing citizen unrest over the past few months — due to a cocktail of challenges that include gross misrule by Zanu PF, the country’s dying economy and worsening poverty levels — Mugabe’s panicking government has been visibly on high alert, as seen in its heightening reliance on the security sector to crush dissent.

It is in this toxic climate that South Africa’s New Age newspaper, owned by the infamous Gupta family, which allegedly bankrolls and controls President Jacob Zuma, reported yesterday that the six Zimbabweans had been arrested by Pretoria’s crack law enforcement agency, the Hawks, on charges  of plotting to topple Mugabe from power.

It said the suspects, five men and a woman aged between 22 and 34 years of age, were being held in custody in Limpopo Province, which borders Zimbabwe.

They were apparently arrested at the Grobler’s Bridge Border Post in Witpoort, near Lephalale, allegedly on their way to Mozambique to receive military training to force regime change in Zimbabwe.

“According to the Hawks, the suspects were arrested with the help of foreign military assistance. Their arrest comes shortly after claims by a Zimbabwean ‘terrorist’ group, ‘Smoke That Thunders’, that Mozambique’s Renamo bandits had offered them a military training base.

“The group claimed they were preparing to forcefully end Mugabe’s 36-year rule before Christmas. In a video posted online, a man who identifies himself as the group’s commander, Jeff Judah Hosana, said the Mozambique-based group was recruiting men between the ages of 20 and 45,” the New Age reported.

It also quoted Information permanent secretary and Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, saying Zimbabwe was yet to receive reports about the arrests, adding however that Harare was aware of claims that Renamo had offered training to the group.

“They (South Africa) may have communicated with our security cluster because they have their own way of handling such issues.

“There were claims that Renamo offered to train them, but we never took that seriously. But, in any case, they know what awaits them,” Charamba is reported saying.

The six suspects, who have apparently already appeared in the Lephalale Magistrates’ Courts, face charges related to terrorism and contravening South Africa’s Immigration Act.

A Hawks source told the newspaper: “It appears they were recruited to undergo military training in Mozambique in order to overthrow the Zimbabwean government”.

Another police source also told the newspaper that the suspects were still in the holding cells.

“The matter is being handled by the Hawks and they don’t want anyone near the suspects because they are still interrogating them,” the second source claimed.

Watering the story somewhat, Zimbabwe’s ambassador in Pretoria, Isaac Moyo, is quoted saying the issue had not been mentioned during a meeting that Harare had with a South African delegation in Harare last week.

“We have not heard anything regarding that matter from our South African counterparts. We had a meeting in Zimbabwe last week where these issues were discussed but this was not brought up,” Moyo said.

South African State Security Department spokesperson, Brian Dube, also said he was not aware of the arrest.

“Normally, when we conduct such operations we do them jointly with the Hawks, but I can’t confirm this one,” he said.

Zuma is due to travel to Zimbabwe next week, as a follow-up to economic and trade agreements signed by the two countries last year, when Mugabe visited South Africa.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, refused to comment on the arrests ahead of Zuma’s trip, saying it was a police matter.

“It’s an arrest and it is being handled by the police,” Monyela said.

The stunning claims come after the commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Philip Valerio Sibanda, indicated in August that the army was training its officers in cyber terrorism to counter the threat posed by social media.

Contacted by the Daily News last night, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, which has often been accused by Zanu PF of training insurgents, distanced itself wholly from the saga, with spokesperson Obert Gutu saying they had “no link whatsoever to any groups that operated outside the law”.

The shadowy group that goes by the moniker “Smoke That Thunders” has been posting videos online, threatening to take its war to Mugabe, in addition to asking for donations from the public to fund its anti-government cause.

“We are not intimidated by what you say Robert Mugabe. Where we come from we have traditional leaders and they have told us you are not one of us,” the self-styled commander of the group, Hossana, is recorded as saying.

In another video, Hossana appeals to well-wishers to fund their cause to remove Mugabe and even goes on to provide their banking details.

“These people (ostensibly Zanu PF) are demon-possessed. They have been in power for 36 years and they keep on wasting our time . . . we cannot keep millions of people jobless, so we want to remove these people,” Hossana, who claims that the intention is to create a new Zimbabwe based on Christian values, adds.

The group has also claimed that Renamo, which is presently involved in talks with the Mozambican government to reach a peace deal, had offered them military training.

In another one of his of videos — which have gone viral online — the group declares that Mugabe would be gone before this coming Christmas.

Comments (12)

According to RGM circus stories of a plot on his live back dates to the days in while in Mozambique. The culprits then were some of his allies during the war though he himself never triggers a gun or went into any trench. he arrested Gumbo and Mahanda and partners. 1980s when he accused Nkomo father Zimbabwe to want to kill him. Later he accused Sithole with Chimwenje, then Tsvangirai and Ncube. Latest victim was Biti on treason for announcing that 2008 Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai. Now these alleged will either be linked to Mujuru, or Tsvangirai or PFZapu. Mugabe always come up with these lies when he want to kill opposition or terrorise them. Guptas want to appear Africa, by siding with the news, running from their corrupt deals. may be they want to cross into Zimbabwe.

amina - 28 October 2016

I have previously warned Zimbabweans against being used by these foreign funded NGOs under the guise of human rights and development, whilst in reality they just want to perpetuate the continued exploitation of Africans and their resources. Mugabe is not perfect but if their "love" for the African was genuine why not send these young men for training so that when they come back they start industries that will create jobs for themselves and others.. Renamo is destabilizing Mozambique, the Gupta family is destabilizing South Africa; are we Zimbabweans so intellectually naive as to create these loopholes/opportunities for the former slave and colonial master to take advantage of us?

ADF - 28 October 2016

Iwe ADF unoita kunge usingafunge. The number one reason for deindustrialisation in this country is Mugabe and his poo poo Zani PF. All this nonsense of training to create industries is hogwash. How many people returned at independence only to be persecuted by Sponge Bob? How many whites have fled Zimbabwe? What are the brain drain figures? This Renamo outfit is on the right track. Get rid of mudhara and his hangers on and see how Zimbabwe will rise. Tora gidi uzvitotonge.

Nhai ADF - 28 October 2016

This is utter tosh!

Fcuk ZANU! - 28 October 2016

Being trained to destabilise your country is junkie honestly. get some educational training in business industry to create jobs for your and our kids not this RUBISH

jorum - 29 October 2016

The desperate state we now find ourselves in with trash in the streets, no money in the banks, pot holes in the roads, power and water shortages, 90% unemployment is, according to @ADF all America's fault and has nothing whatsoever to do with grossly inefficient, hugely corrupt, deceitful, murdering leaders? @ADF you have been smoking too much mbanje cos you just ain't seeing or thinking straight. And as long as people continue listening to people like @ADF and taking his word as gospel the worse it is going to become for all of us. The ruined state of our country, all the misery and suffering can be attributed to one man: Sir Robert Gabriel Mugabe who was awarded a Knighthood not by the China or Russia but by Britain. Let none of us forget.

Mbewa - 29 October 2016

Nonsense who does not know that Zimbabweans are always crossing borders looking for jobs bcoz they are no jobs in their country . For the past 17 years Zimbabweans had been crossing into SA Botswana Zambia and Moza through bush bcoz they have no pass ports . All this is nonsense of course bcoz natural SA police can not waste time arresting anyone wanting to correct the present situation in zim which will see many zimbos leave SA in thousands which South AFricans pple and govt want . The bottom line here is all this nonsense is created so that pple can feel sorry for Mugabe but nada mani we will not feeling sorry

Diibulaanyika - 29 October 2016

The ZANU pf started they want to put other political party leaders under arrest by fabricating cases like what they did to President Morgan Tsvangirai using ariben Munashe erra keep an eye closer

majangara majangara - 29 October 2016

This story is all lies, lies and more lies.

Homo Erectus - 29 October 2016

This appears like a true story to me and if it really is true, I think the South African government has no right arresting Zimbabweans on behalf of Mugabe. South Africa, like the rest of Africa is watching and not meddling in the affairs of Zimbabwe because they do not want appear to be interfering with matters of a sovereign state. Isn't arresting these guys interference? If it were only for the immigration charges It would have been understandable. I, being a man of inadequate means, am sorry to this group for my inability to donate something to them. I salute these fearless fellows because over the years, I have failed to think of other means to emancipate the suffering Zimbabweans from the yoke of slavery in the hands of Mugabe and his friends outside of force. I am wary of a similar yoke in the hands of The Smoke That Thunder too, though.

Jah Thomas - 29 October 2016

Looking for means to increase your monthly income? Why not learn how to trade and earn money just being at home? Google Superior Trading System and start your trading career.

unchuabriol - 31 October 2016

this is utter rubbish from a deseperate regime. they are trying to divert our attention from the bread and butter issues. where are the 2million jobs? isu tinoonera manje.........

BT - 31 October 2016

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