Stranded Mphoko appeals to Mnangagwa; ex-VP stranded in Botswana

By: 
Denis Gwenzi
Source: 
Own Correspondent

FORMER vice president Phelekezela Mphoko is holed up in neighbouring Botswana where he has reportedly been appealing to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be allowed to return home.

The new Harare administration confirmed the development Wednesday, indicating that Mphoko was free to return home from his self-imposed exile.

Information ministry permanent secretary George Charamba told State media that Mphoko, who has vast business interests Zimbabwe, had reached out to Mnangagwa.

“Former Vice President Mphoko spoke to the President and was assured that he is free to return to Zimbabwe and contribute to the rebuilding of the nation,” said Charamba.

“Like any other Zimbabwean, he is free to come home and assist in growing the economy and the country. Hopefully, he will be making his way home soon.”

Mphoko left Harare for Japan on government business on November 14, a day before the military took over power and placed then president Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

The former vice president has not seen been heard from since. His family has interests in the Choppies supermarket chain which operates in Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Fearing arrest after the balance of power dramatically shifted in Harare, Mphoko chose to fly to the neighbouring country after his return from Japan.

The former VP is part of the G40 Zanu PF faction whose key members are on the run after the military intervention which led to Mugabe’s resignation last week.

Members of the group such as former finance minister Ignatius Chombo and ex-Zanu PF youth leader Kudzai Chipanga are currently being prosecuted while axed cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere are believed to have gone into exile.

The group was charged with having connived to “capture” the aged and ailing Mugabe, who turned 93 this year, allowing his wife Grace to take over power and effectively run the country and the ruling party.

The defence forces, whose commanders are veterans of the liberation struggle, intervened after the G40 group forced the ouster of Mnangagwa from government and the ruling party and moved to expel his allies from Zanu PF.

G40 also miscalculated badly when they tried to arrest defence forces chief, General Constantino Chiwenga, as he returned from a trip to China.

Military intelligence thwarted the arrest bid at Harare International Airport and, days later, the Generals effectively staged a coup which led to Mnangagwa taking over as the country’s new president.

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