Charamba Likely to Survive Chop

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s spin doctor and spokesperson, George Charamba is likely to survive the chop after his boss demanded that he be spared but traded off some of his closest allies, including the controversial central bank governor, Gideon Gono and attorney general, Johannes Tomana.

Although the state media, particularly the partisan Herald daily newspaper is presently going to town defending them, particularly Gono, the two are reportedly going to be sent packing at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, RadioVOP can reveal.

Zimbabwe’s deputy prime minister and leader of the smaller opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation, Professor Arthur Mutambara spilled the beans at a briefing of African diplomats in Harare on Tuesday this week.

He told a meeting of African ambassadors group hosted by the Harare Chamber of Commerce to explore business opportunities, that the fate of the two should have been concluded at this Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting which was postponed following the death of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s grandson.

“The issue of Charamba, Gono, Tomana, ambassadors, and governors and other outstanding issues are still pending and we agreed over the week end retreat (held in Victoria Falls), that it must be resolved urgently for us to move forward.

“As for Gono, his appointment was in violation of the Reserve Bank Act itself, the spirit and letters of the memorandum of agreement, the subsequent Global Political Agreement the three political parties signed and Amendment No 19 – which is the Bible and legal mother of this inclusive government,” he said.

Mutambara’s remarks also confirm earlier reports that Charamba is to be spared the rod after President Mugabe demanded that he should stay but gave in to the opposition’s other demands.

He announced that Charamba, who doubles as the government’s secretary for media, information and publicity, has now been tasked with spearheading Zimbabwe’s belated media and public relations programme to salvage any business opportunities out of the forthcoming 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa.

It is understood that President Mugabe’s three negotiators- Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Justice and legal minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Transport minister, Nicholas Goche told the two MDC formations that President Mugabe will not agree to have Charamba removed from his post as he was his own choice for a spokesperson in the same way that Prime Minister Tsvangirai brought in a new man, James Maridadi, to run his media office.

Charamba himself is also reported to have been of late frantically pleading with the MDC formations, particularly Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who he is reportedly closely related to, indicating that he is prepared to “serve” the opposition – a far cry from his venomous self.

Of late, the seemingly reformed Charamba has also virtually withdrawn from the public sphere and appears to have stopped his declared “taming of the Shrew” media agenda and churning of a propaganda diet.

Charamba is also closely related to the First Lady Grace Mugabe who also comes from his Buhera district in Manicaland and has cultivated impeccable relations with the First Family, whom he accompanies on virtually all foreign trips.