Spy boss is butt of jokes

Zim­babwe state se­cu­rity min­is­ter ridiculed af­ter video of him seek­ing divine pro­tec­tion goes vi­ral

African Independent - - SADC - BREZHNEV MALABA

ACABINET min­is­ter in charge of Zim­babwe’s much-feared se­cret po­lice is be­ing ridiculed af­ter he was filmed in a rit­ual be­ing “anointed” by con­tro­ver­sial Malaw­ian preacher “Prophet” Shep­herd Bushiri who told him his en­e­mies were con­sult­ing witch­doc­tors to kill him.

In a video that has gone vi­ral, State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Kembo Mo­hadi is seen in­side Bushiri’s church in Jo­han­nes­burg, nod­ding his head and mum­bling re­peat­edly: “Thank you, man of God, I re­ceive.”

Bushiri then gives Mo­hadi a white hand­ker­chief which he must use to wipe his face when­ever he feels threat­ened, and tells the min­is­ter that no harm will be­fall him as he is pro­tected by God.

Mo­hadi is in charge of Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Or­gan­i­sa­tion which is ac­cused of car­ry­ing out ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, in­tim­i­dat­ing the vet­eran leader’s po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents and in­still­ing a gen­eral cli­mate of fear in the coun­try.

Mu­gabe, a de­vout Catholic who reg­u­larly at­tends mass and al­ways car­ries rosary beads in his suit pocket, was not amused by the min­is­ter’s shenani­gans with the sleek-talk­ing pas­tor.

The 92-year-old pres­i­dent, whose re­fusal to step down has sparked a vi­cious suc­ces­sion war in his rul­ing Zanu-PF, told a party meet­ing that he did not ex­pect peo­ple of “sound mind” to be­lieve such “bo­gus prophe­cies”.

The irony of a sup­pos­edly pow­er­ful min­is­ter beg­ging for the pro­tec­tion of a self-styled prophet has not gone un­no­ticed by or­di­nary Zim­bab­weans.

The video has trig­gered howls of laugh­ter, pro­vid­ing much­needed comic re­lief in a coun­try be­set by eco­nomic hard­ship.

In the cut-throat world of Zanu-PF fac­tion­al­ism, Mo­hadi is as­so­ci­ated with the La­coste camp linked to Vice-Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa.

The Malaw­ian preacher told Mo­hadi he was poised for “pro­mo­tion” – there is wide­spread spec­u­la­tion that, should Mnan­gagwa suc­ceed Mu­gabe, Mo­hadi could be el­e­vated to vi­cepres­i­dent.

“I am see­ing you go­ing higher and higher, noth­ing bad will hap­pen to you. I am see­ing pro­mo­tion com­ing your way, I am see­ing a crown on your head,” the preacher says in the video while Mo­hadi replies: “I re­ceive.”

Com­ment­ing on Twit­ter, Set­free Ma­fukidze, a lawyer, said Mu­gabe would prob­a­bly fire the min­is­ter.

“Mo­hadi will re­gret the day he ever flew to meet prophets. He will lose the min­istry (of State Se­cu­rity) he holds. Mu­gabe doesn’t like such be­hav­iour,” he said.

Last week, Twim­bos – as the com­mu­nity of Zim­bab­weans on Twit­ter is known – roared with laugh­ter when mus­ing on what would hap­pen should Mo­hadi re­trieve the white hand­ker­chief dur­ing a cab­i­net meet­ing.

Bishop Lazarus, a colum­nist with the state-con­trolled Sun­day Mail, poked fun at Mo­hadi: “Did Min­is­ter Mo­hadi bring that white hand­ker­chief to the last (Zanu-PF) polit­buro meet­ing? Did he take it to cab­i­net? In re­cent weeks, polit­buro and cab­i­net meet­ings are turn­ing out to be like box­ing rings and, surely, min­is­ter Mo­hadi would not want to take any chances,” he wrote.

Su­per­sti­tion runs deep in Zim­babwe, a coun­try touted to be the most lit­er­ate in Africa. In 2014, Mu­gabe fired vice-pres­i­dent Joice Mu­juru, ac­cus­ing her of con­sult­ing witch­doc­tors to harm him. He has never re­vealed the ev­i­dence.

In 2007, a 39-year-old self-styled tra­di­tional healer sum­moned cab­i­net min­is­ters to a rocky out­crop north of Harare where she claimed she had found diesel ooz­ing out of boul­ders.

The min­is­ters fell for her prank and were filmed tak­ing off their shoes and clap­ping their hands in awe as the char­la­tan staged her “diesel from the rocks” rit­ual.

Mo­hadi was among the duped min­is­ters, to­gether with Syd­ney Sek­era­mayi, a qual­i­fied med­i­cal doc­tor who is now min­is­ter of de­fence.

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