EXCLUSIVE: MPHOKO BACK. . . Causes dramatic scene at border

The convoy that escorted the former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko into the country at Plumtree border yesterday. (Pictures by Obey Sibanda)

The convoy that escorted the former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko into the country at Plumtree border yesterday. (Pictures by Obey Sibanda)

Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
FORMER Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko made a dramatic return to Zimbabwe from Botswana yesterday when he caused a 45-minute spectacle at the Plumtree Border Post as he tried to evade the media.

Mr Mphoko had been holed up in Botswana since the Zimbabwe Defence Forces launched Operation Restore Legacy targeting criminal elements around former President Cde Robert Mugabe causing instability in the Government.

A key member of the G40 cabal, Mr Mphoko left Zimbabwe on an official visit to Japan on November 14, a day before the army launched the operation.

He did not return to Zimbabwe but instead, flew to Botswana where he had been a guest of the Government there.

Highly placed sources said the Botswana government had given him up to December 1 to leave their country and return to Zimbabwe but the former VP had been reluctant to do so fearing arrest for corruption-related crimes.

The former VP had been living in a State residence in Gaborone and returned home after reaching out to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and getting the necessary assurances that he was free to come back to Zimbabwe.

Clad in a white shirt, Mr Mphoko and his family arrived at the Zimbabwean side of the border at 1.15pm aboard a Zimbabwe Department of Immigration minibus accompanied by Botswana immigration officials.

He was with his wife Laurinda, son Siqokoqela and seven other family members.

When they got to the Zimbabwean side’s arrival section, Mr Mphoko, upon spotting a Chronicle photographer, refused to disembark from the minibus saying to the Zimbabwean immigration officials, “No cameras please, I don’t want cameras here.”

Siqokoqela Mphoko fills in documents at the Plumtree border post while his father Zimbabwe’s former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko hides in the immigration vehicle yesterday

Siqokoqela Mphoko fills in documents at the Plumtree border post while his father Zimbabwe’s former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko hides in the immigration vehicle yesterday

Only Siqokoqela disembarked from the minibus, making some phone calls to a team of drivers that were waiting for them on the departure end.

Mr Mphoko then got into the minibus and they drove to the departure section on the other end where they offloaded their luggage and groceries while Mr Mphoko and the rest of the family remained in the minibus after realising that the news crew had followed them.

Siqokoqela filled in some papers before handing them to the Zimbabwe immigration officials for processing.

The Chronicle also noticed that neither Mr Mphoko nor the rest of his family had their passports at hand or stamped at the country’s entry point raising speculation that they could have been deported.

However, sources at the border said the Botswana immigration officials told their Zimbabwean counterparts that they had been ordered to escort Mr Mphoko and his family.

“What we heard is that the Botswana Immigration officials said they got an order from above that they should escort a diplomat back to Zimbabwe and that the diplomat had chosen to leave Botswana on his own volition,” said the source.

After completing the paperwork, the mini bus with Mr Mphoko and other family members was driven towards the Botswana side followed by a convoy of vehicles that had come to collect him while Siqokoqela jumped into his white BMW X5.

Immigration officers attend to the former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko inside the immigration vehicle at Plumtree border yesterday

Immigration officers attend to the former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko inside the immigration vehicle at Plumtree border yesterday

Midway between the two borders, Mr Mphoko and the rest of the family members disembarked from the minibus and entered into the convoy of cars, in an effort to evade being taken pictures.

His convoy caused a momentary traffic jam as it blocked vehicles coming from the Botswana side.

The drama however, had generated a lot of interest such that by the time Mr Mphoko got into the convoy of cars, a small crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle.

The convoy then whisked Mr Mphoko and his family  away at about 2pm with Siqokoqela driving his vehicle next to the Mercedes Benz carrying his father in a bid to block The Chronicle photographer from taking pictures of the car.

Earlier he had gestured at the photographer ordering him to stop taking pictures.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Mr George Charamba, on Tuesday said Mr Mphoko had spoken to President Mnangagwa by telephone and asked to return home.

Apart from his role in the previous Government, Mr Mphoko is also into business and is a director of Choppies Zimbabwe — a supermarket chain with branches in most cities and towns in the country. The company also has vast interests in Botswana.

Mr Mphoko was among members of the G40 group who were expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party for engaging in activities meant to destabilise the Government.

The party also recalled him from the position of Vice President and Second Secretary over allegations of being divisive, a member of the G40 cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the VP.

He was recalled on the day the party also recalled former President Mugabe from the position of party First Secretary and replaced him with President Mnangagwa whom the ruling party also reinstated as a Central Committee member.

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  • Mabhuqa

    So what? Welcome back home Mr Mphoko. Ayikho into abazoyenza, these butchers of Bhalagwe. They committed such heinous crimes that are not comparable to whatever you are accused of.

    • zibulo

      i think that the other independent newspapers are doing us a big dis service. Why do they not cover the Gugurahundi issues in full , in detail , say , dedicate a special publication of it all , from A-Z , district by district , interviews with survivors , film /pictures of Unknown Mass graves , names of victims , Government response then , details of the composition and mission of the 5th brigade , commanders , accomplishments as per their terms by the State , publicity / awareness then in the whole country ?? Can they please help, they can always get assistance from the Catholic Commission fr Justice and Peace, this way the Issue can then be taken to Govt for Confrontation , if they are Stubborn , then to the Courts of Law for responsibility , Prosecution , Compensation .

      • Kabius Kekedu

        Off topic. The story here is Mpoko and let it be Mpoko.

        • zibulo

          related to what 1st writer said . you’re wrong teacher

          • Zenzele Jack Chaminuka

            Direct your Gukurahundi howling to the geriatric father of Chatunga and Bona.

      • Mdawini Muleya

        Another gukurahundi is coming and you are still howling like a rabbid dog on this platform.kkkk.I can see you are still emotional about the 1983 incident in 2017.Bp or cadiac arrest will kill yoh soon because you have no power to d o what you feel should be done.I feel you.Poor soul.Chimbovukura,uchivukura ivo magukurahundists achitonga!kkkkkkk.Good gracious!!

      • God of War

        Have you considered opening your own newspaper company and you can print whatever you want?

  • Ngwena Pfeee

    Mboko imboko

  • Sancho

    Just let the guy go. He has done nothing for the Zimbabweans.

  • Zobuhlungu magagula

    Mphoko has cases relating to money laundering and siphoning money out of the country without permission from the reserve bank. He was running his businesses using forex taken from the reserve bank by force. He did not bank money from his business in Zimbabwean banks. His wife was intercepted by a gang of thieves that followed her from Zimbabwe with millions of US dollars taken by force from the reserve bank like what Grace Mugabe did -she siphoned millions if not more than a billion dollars from the reserve bank of Zimbabwe-for all this Mphoko protected her in person. Mphoko shouted at a sitting VP Munangagwa that is against government protocol and decorum-it caused public despondency and lack of trust in government when a vice president castigates another in public.He told Mugabe to name a successor against the ZANUPF constitution and Grace Mugabe said the same thing against the laws of Zimbabwe that is intransigence that caused people to lose confidence in the state and the public feared they were not protected because Mphoko and Grace acted above the law.Mphoko released prisoners in jails who had committed fraud-he as a VP had no authority to act above the law -taking the law into his own hands to protect criminals. Mpoko and Grace lied to the public that Mnangagwa was saying he should be president because he is Karanga but all things said Mnangwa never talked about him being president because he is Karanga. These two used it a gimmick to fool the public so that they hate Mnangagwa. That talk is against the Zimbabwean constitution, it destablised the public and caused agitation in army that resulted in the swift reaction to keep law and order because if people start to talk about tribalism at the highest level like that it causes genocide like what happened in Rwanda. Like here, the Gukurahundi was sparked by dissidents who were killing civilian in the Midlands, Masvingo, and Bulawayo modeled along the Renamo style killing Shona speaking people hatred of the Shona just like what the bogus group called Mthwakazi run by a Rhodesian is trying to seek sponsors to cause ethnic hatred and renaming Zimbabwe and its provinces. Remember Eskimo Wesi, Thambo Lenyoka, Gayi Gusu, and the butcher Gwesela in Lower Gwelo/midlands. Of course this was sponsored by Rhodesians who wanted to destabilise the country. Grace and Mphoko in their speech in Mozoe where they betrayed their grandiose plan Grace said mbuyanehanda was sold out by Karanga so Karanga cannot rule the country. Foolish, bullcrap. Ethic hatred should be one of the charges. It causes mayhem and country might not have been governable. He imposed Mlala to subvert leaders of a legitimate private organisation-sanctioned by the high court and allowed a parallel structure to run so as to make the war veterans association ungovernanable, disfunctional and be impersonated by a the Mlala group without a name.

  • QL

    Phew what a furore just to get back and refuse to get out of the vehicle and do not want photographs still living in the past if it was an ordinar person they would just get their photos and be forced out of the vehicle

  • Zimbul

    why is it news?your photographers should acting like paparazzi remember they caused the death of princess Diana this is unacceptable from a state paper

  • Donovan Dube

    I dont understand why Mugabe is not being prosecuted for looting the country’s resources and money? Why is he being let off the hook and allowed to keep looted property in Zim and abroad? Why is he allowed to own 13 farms? In any case, who gave these people the mandate to confer immunity to Mugabe on our behalf? Who gave them the authority to make the $10m settlement and crazy benefits for him and Grace? He is a criminal like those criminals sorrounding him

    • Cetshwayo kaGodlwayo

      You’re too young mafana, worse still umdidi uyaluma go take a bath ukuwenywaya won’t help you much, the itching will recur.

  • Ton van Der Parker

    How can ZANU PF say they recalled MPHOKO from the VIce Presidency whe he was appointed by RGM? The party had nothing to do with his appointment.

  • PHIRI BWAANJI

    WHY IS IT THAT WHEN GUKURAHUNDI IS BEING SPOKEN OF SHONA PEOPLE GET ANGRY,WHEN SOME FELLOW SHONAS IN MIDLANDS ARE CRYING OUT FOUL PLAY ON THE INCIDENT.
    PLEASE LET US ALL GO AND REGISTER TO VOTE AND REMOVE THIS ZANU PF,TAHT WILL PAVE A WAY ON HEALING THE WOUNDS OF BRUTALITY TAHT ARE VASTLY IN MATEBELELAND AND MIDLANDS.

    • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

      Its because tribalistic Shona believe that Gukurahundi had something to do with the tribal wars of the 1800s. Remember most of these tribalists are either uneducated or poorly educated; they dont read much or do any reserach at all. They prefer to be spoon fed information. That is why they have been used by ZANU PF like condoms as voting fodder.

      Most of us when we talk about Gukurahundi, we are directing our message to ZANU PF and their Govt, especially Mugabe, Mnangagwa, Shiri, Sekeramayi etc, not to these Shonas. But you find them suddenly becoming defensive in a matter that doesnt concern them. They are not normal!!

      • MATHUMO

        WELL SAID.

  • Nkunzemnyama

    This pig and his masters abo Mad Bob labo Manangagwa should be tried for gugurawundi and looting the country resources.

  • ROYAL MTHWAKAZI

    Mphoko is a rich business man. Most of these people chasing after him are simply poor church mice with no life. They think their howling about him makes any difference. There is nothing they will do to him – he has already sorted everything out with the president. Tribalists should now shut up!!