Mnangagwa's advisors accused of leaking information

 Mnangagwa's advisors accused of leaking information
Published: 10 October 2019
A RECENT report in the Daily News on the deliberations of and the goings-on within the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) caused President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, to blow his gasket in a development which left the high-profile counsellors stunned.

Well-placed sources told the newspaper yesterday that the normally laid back Mnangagwa tore into his advisors and angrily asked them to resign if they are not happy with him or his government's response to the country's myriad political and economic challenges. this followed an explosive meeting in which he accused some of them of  leaking confidential information which was recently published in the Daily News.

All this comes  as the pressure is mounting on the 77 year old Zanu PF leader and his  misfiring lieutenants to extricate Zimbabwe from its worst economic crisis in a decade which has left the country on the brink of imploding into total chaos.

Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba confirmed the convening of the explosive meeting, adding that his boss would not brook any nonsense from some of his advisors, whom he accused of "playing to the gallery".

The livid Mnangagwa apparently told the advisors that they were free to quit the council after a leak of information criticising the president's leadership style and efficacy.

The advisors had also bemoaned the perilous economic situation in the country, as well as the rising claims of State capture by crooked busi- nesspeople and the government's failure to deal decisively with corruption.

Charamba said yesterday that the leak of confidential information and the goings-on within the PAC had angered Mnangagwa as he felt let down by his advisors who are drawn from the business community, churches and other key stakeholders.

"Yes, he wasn't happy at all. He told them that their role was to advise him and not to advise the public.

"I told you before that these are whisperers be- hind the throne (the role of advisors), not wailers on rooftops. They were told to behave like advi- sors of the president, not advisors of the public. They have to make a choice.

"They were indeed told to comply or resign if they cannot be compliant. But we haven't come to that because this could be just excitement that had gripped some of them. I don't think this is shared by everyone in PAC," Charamba said.

Emulating the Rwandan model, Mnangagwa has appointed an advisory council to advise him on the political, social and economic situation in the country.

However, some members of the PAC have expressed disquiet over the snail's pace of the process of implementing reforms by Mnangagwa's administration, citing this as a major weakness and albatross on progress in the country.

What particularly appears to have angered Mnangagwa in the Daily News report was that he was cast as both lethargic and incompetent in dealing with the myriad crises and the scourge of corruption that is devouring the heart of the economy and the country's social fabric.

While applauding the strengthening of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and its commitment towards uprooting graft, the disaffected PAC members were especially not happy with the behaviour of cartels, whose actions are said to be contributing to the worsening hardships facing ordinary people.

"We would (however) advise you that citizens are dismayed and angered by the existence of corrupt cartels that are responsible for causing tremendous hardships to the people of this country.

"There is widespread perception that these cartels exist in the foreign currency, fuel, gold, tobacco and chrome sectors to name the most prominent ones. We would like to believe that the individuals or organisations driving these cartels are known to the authorities. Zimbabweans are at a loss as to why these cartels are allowed to continue to operate freely while they are wreak- ing so much damage to the economy and to the welfare of citizens," the miffed advisors said in a document which was exclusively published by the Daily News last month.

"Citizens want strong, visible and urgent action taken against the real culprits (the tigers and not just the runners or small fish). Unless this is done, Your Excellency, we do not believe that trust and confidence can be restored.

"The new dispensation has a unique window of opportunity to leave an enduring legacy by moving with speed to draw the curtain on corruption.

"The option on an amnesty followed by a declaration of war on corruption offers this unique opportunity and should be seized with both hands.

"Exercising this option gives your administration a unique opportunity to close the chapter on the past, draw a line in the sand, and move forward on the basis of probity and rectitude," the advisors said further in their document.

At the time this information was published in the Daily News, Charamba was least amused by it, accusing some PAC members of overstepping their mandate by leaking such information to the media which information was meant for the president only.

"They (PAC) do not seek personal or collective recognition as if they are a pressure group. Whether it is true or not, whatever advice is passed to the head of State, it is given in good faith," he said then.

Mnangagwa, who was feted like a king when he ascended to power following the stunning felling of the late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017 has so far failed to lead the country's economic revival, as rampant corruption, price hikes and debilitating commodity shortages have continued to batter Zimbabwe's economy.

As a result, Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst economic crisis in a decade, as the country battles acute shortages of foreign currency, fuel, electricity, medicines and water which has triggered unrest among long-suffering citizens.
- dailynews
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