HomeLocalTsholotsho saga: evidence of Charamba's role exposed

Tsholotsho saga: evidence of Charamba’s role exposed

DESPITE presidential spokesman George Charamba’s threat to sue the Zimbabwe Independent for alleged defamation over a story linking him to the ruling Zanu PF Tsholotsho succession politics, a scrutiny of reports at the time reveals he featured prominently in the events.


ONG>Charamba was named in several reports to do with the Tsholotsho saga in what sources said was a clear indication he was involved in the matter he understandably now seeks to distance himself from.
 
Reports in the government-controlled and private media in November and December 2004 refer to Charamba’s role, in particular in connection with the hiring of a helicopter to transport Zanu PF officials to Dinyane Secondary School in Tsholotsho for a school function.
 
The prize-giving ceremony at the school was reported to have been arranged by supporters of party heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa to block the rise of Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

The state-run Chronicle on December 1, 2004 published a front-page story headlined Tsholotsho Declaration: the facts, accompanied by a memo dated November 18, 2004, the day of the Tsholotsho meeting, emanating from former Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s secretary Chipo Mukabeta, addressed to Charamba requesting the presidential spokesman to “hire a private helicopter” from Central Air Services for the event.
 
Charamba, the accounting officer of his ministry, authorised a $9 780 750 payment for the helicopter, and helped to secure clearance for it.

The Sunday Mirror also reported last year that Charamba authorised the payment.
 
Other newspapers, including the Zanu PF mouthpiece, The Voice, carried similar reports.
 
Sources said yesterday Charamba authorised the helicopter hire two days after he had reportedly written Mnangagwa’s speech eventually delivered in Tsholotsho by former politburo member, Patrick Chinamasa.

Charamba is denying he wrote the speech for Mnangagwa although Moyo has confirmed this. Charamba has also denied clashing with ZBC workers — for instance Douglas Dhliwayo — despite documents which  actually show that the two did clash.

At the height of the Tsholotsho battle, Charamba denied an Independent report that his working relationship with Moyo had deteriorated, saying the story was “fictional”. Hardly a month later, Moyo lambasted him in an acerbic memo over a report that the minister had submitted his resignation.

Charamba claims that he does not get involved in party politics because he is a civil servant. But during last year’s March general election, he was part of Zanu PF’s publicity committee. He has also been seen in public wearing Zanu PF regalia.

There have also been reports about his role, for instance in the Financial Gazette on October 13, in the controversy over revelations in the New African magazine that the CIO were the architects of Operation Murambatsvina.

There have been claims that Charamba might have discussed the issue with New African editor Baffour Ankomah who was a guest of his department staying at a local hotel — not at his house as earlier claimed — during his visit to Harare last year. — Staff writer.

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