Mnangagwa Struggles To Hold Country Together, Cancels Bocha Rally
28 March 2024
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In a series of unsettling events that have further deepened the political crisis in Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa stands accused of a range of thefts—from electoral to monetary—casting a long shadow over his administration’s legitimacy since the controversial August 2023 elections. Mnangagwa’s victory, which he asserts was fair, has been met with widespread condemnation, including from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), signaling a regional unease with the electoral process and its aftermath.

The escalating tension took a dramatic turn when Mnangagwa canceled his much-anticipated “thank you” rally at St Noah College in Bocha, Manicaland province, slated for Saturday. This event, coinciding with the Passover feast, was meant to be both a political gathering and a spiritual visit. However, allegations surfaced against Nyasha Marange, a church member and the Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Mutare West, accusing him of exploiting his relationship with church leader St Nimrod. Marange reportedly coerced wealthy church members into funding the President’s visit, an action that has reportedly “tarnished the image of the church,” with claims that the high priest was unaware of Marange’s actions.

In defense, Marange vehemently denied the allegations, stating, “We are a rich church… We have no need of going to anybody to beg for money, let alone force them to make contributions.” He underscored the church’s self-sufficiency and numerous projects, challenging anyone to substantiate the claims of forced contributions.

Marange is no stranger to controversy, having recently been in the spotlight for demanding control over a substantial US$1.2 million meant for the Chiadzwa Community Share Ownership Trust. This move, coupled with accusations of sidelining fellow MPs and imposing himself as the fund’s manager, has sparked serious internal conflicts.

Adding to Mnangagwa’s woes are explosive allegations from Simbarashe Marumahoko, a senior ZANU PF figure, who has publicly accused the President of demanding a $20 million bribe to release food aid. An audio clip circulating on social media captures Marumahoko’s furious condemnation of Mnangagwa’s leadership, stating, “Mnangagwa sold the country. What kind of president is that?” His remarks paint a picture of a party and a nation in turmoil under Mnangagwa’s rule.

As Zimbabwe grapples with these multifaceted challenges, Mnangagwa’s ability to maintain cohesion within his party and the country at large is under severe test. With accusations of electoral theft, financial impropriety, and abuse of power, the road ahead for his administration appears fraught with difficulties, both domestically and on the international stage.- state media/agencies