A Twitter account reportedly run by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has exposed sharp divisions within the ruling party, with two of his top lieutenants clashing over its authenticity.
By Everson Mushava
The divisions, long manifesting in the Information ministry, came to the fore this week when Information ministry permanent secretary Ndabaningi Mangwana openly trashed claims by Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba suggesting the President was not in charge of his Twitter account.
“There may be many fake accounts in HE President Mnangagwa’s name, but @edmnangagwa is the legitimate voice of the President,” Mangwana said, adding: “Nothing goes on there but that which represents his views and positions on issues and that which he has explicitly cleared.”
Mangwana is the one believed to be running the ministry’s as well as Mnangagwa’s accounts.
Charamba was moved from the Information ministry to become deputy chief secretary in the office of the president responsible for presidential communications.
Mangwana’s tweet came after Charamba on Wednesday discredited a message posted on Mnangagwa’s official Twitter account last Tuesday, where the Zanu PF leader seemed to suggest that he was committed to enter into dialogue with other political actors and civic groups to address the country’s deteriorating economic situation.
Addressing journalists at State House soon after the swearing-in of Kumbirai Hodzi as substantive prosecutor-general, Charamba said people should not believe everything posted on that Twitter account.
“Just when we were there, the President was drawing my attention to an attempt to, as it were, putting words into his mouth using his Twitter account, right. So, don’t always believe that which is coming through,” Charamba said.
When Mnangagwa returned from Russia and other little known East European countries where he had gone for a week, he used his Twitter handle to call for dialogue after violent protests engulfed the country over his decision to increase the price of fuel by 150%.
Charamba said the protests severely damaged the country’s image.
“It has been a damaging week for Zimbabwe, for political parties, for political leadership, which must in fact inculcate a sense of peace and a sense of order and a sense of constitutionalism in this country,” he said.
In a tweet posted on his micro-blogging site, Mnangagwa said it was time to talk and solve the economic crisis, months after he and his party had declared that they were not interested in dialogue with election losers.
Mangwana insisted whatever came from the Twitter account represented the president’s views and that he would have cleared the posts.
Asked about his work relationship with Charamba, Mangwana said he had a good working relationship with him.
“We work well. In fact, I am coming from a meeting with him,” Mangwana said.
Charamba has said a lot of things that contradict his boss’s tweets, amid reports there were fights for control of the Information ministry.