On the 6th of February 2019 the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, HE ED Mnangagwa, convened a meeting at State House for all Presidential contestants in the 2018 elections to discuss the framework on the proposed National Dialogue. 

Out of the 23 candidates, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was conspicuously absent. 

The explanation was that he wanted his jailed supporters released from prisons as a condition for dialogue. However, he was to be present the day after at a breakfast prayer meeting at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, under the banner of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC ). 

As this expose will demonstrate, this was a platform he had intended to use to ambush and stampede President Mnangagwa into some “talks” or dialogue.

Here are the issues. 

The convenor at this meeting is Rev Dr Kenneth Mtata. Chamisa is heard at this meeting openly pushing and agitating to have Rev Dr Mtata adopted as the natural convenor and mediator in the envisaged National Dialogue because he is “neutral and acceptable to all parties”.
Rev Dr Mtata is the clergyman who was offered, accepted and immediately withdrew his membership from the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC).

It came as a surprise to many why he had accepted the appointment in the first place. Others thought that he had done a deliberate U-turn as a way of spitefully exposing and embarrassing the President while trashing his goodwill. Anything is possible. 

Until now we had not known the motive for his eleventh hour withdrawal. Let me not try to speculate but I will try to stitch up a theory. Rev Dr Mtata and has a close personal and working relationship with one Fambai Ngirande. 

Ngirande became the coordinator at the Zimbabwe Council of Churches when he had left the Danish Church Aid where he was governance coordinator for two years from November 2016 to January 2018, a position he bequeathed to Mrs Sithokozile Chamisa. He left under unclear circumstances. Credible information at hand shows that when Ngirande left the Danish Church Aid he had just pulled a one-man heist.

Ngirande had unprocedural access to and had transferred a whopping $500 000 to the ZCC, an organisation he was later to lead as coordinator. So we can literally say that he followed the money trail. 

Ngirande left the Danish Church Aid for another strategic deployment at the ZCC with an explicit assignment to ensure and entrench Chamisa’s influence and control within the national Church body politic. 

Rev Dr Mtata as secretary-general of the ZCC was to receive, preside over and administer this dirty money from the Danish Church Aid without a cringe. But it goes deeper than the money. It is more to do with power and control. But it should be noted that it’s not about himself. It’s a strategic deployment of both personnel and resources. 

Upon his departure from Danish Aid, Ngirande carried with himself strict and tacit instructions to ensure that the ZCC and all its affiliate churches and clergy are firmly tucked into his pockets. 

This assignment would seem and indeed was easy, thanks to the cash loot from the Danish Church Aid. All these men of the cloth soon became beholden/captive to the man who possessed the dollar. Now, this is part of the reason why Rev Dr Mtata turned down the Presidential appointment which was largely going to be voluntary national service.

So Rev Dr Mtata appears to have turned down the Presidential appointment to avoid conflict of interest and presumably readying himself for a higher calling of becoming kingmaker and mediator to the “dialogue” and obviously some rich pickings should the talks succeed. Since the arrival of Ngirande as coordinator at the ZCC, the Church body has uncharacteristically become very liquid. 

The Danish Church Aid has suddenly become its biggest and most reliable benefactor. The tap doesn’t show any signs of drying up any time soon. What really happened is that when Ngirande left the Danish Church Aid he left behind a woman in charge. 

And the woman is none other than one Sithokozile Chamisa. Yes, you read well. Sithokozile Chamisa is wife to Nelson Chamisa and she is in charge at the Danish Church Aid as governance coordinator. Now it goes without saying that him who pays the piper calls the tune.

Chamisa snubbed the Presidential invite to State House, only to in turn invite the President to his own Breakfast Prayer meeting at HICC the following day. Interesting! Now picture this. Here is a whole auditorium full of men and women of the cloth, transported from across the country and got allowances paid by the ZCC. They were all aware who their sponsor was. Here is a full house of Chamisa’s loyalists and worshippers. 

Chamisa, by the way, could just as well be said to have funded the participants through his wife at Danish Church Aid. It is not easy to imagine where their loyalties lay and a good guess is that they could have given the President a hostile reception. The meeting was thus  tantamount to driving the President into a sea of embarrassment and anxiety.

This was thus, no doubt, a coup of some dubious kind. The good thing is that the President did not go. Meanwhile, it will be good for Chamisa to stop all this antics based on his failure to process defeat last year.Zimbo24