Mnangagwa's helper faces assassin's bullet

Mnangagwa's helper faces assassin's bullet
Published: 26 May 2018 (315 Views)
Remember that man who helped President Mnangagwa and his son Emmerson Junior in the dark November days when their lives were in grave danger after a political fallout with then president Robert Mugabe and his administration?

Who could ever forget him?

His intercession is the stuff of modern day legend as he lent a hand in the President's darkest hour and his deepest despair.

Like Germany's Oskar Schindler, Rwanda's Paul Rusesabagina and Sir Nicholas Winton MBE in the Holocaust, Justice Maphosa went in harm's way to avert what could have been an international incident and a terrible embarrassment had harm come the way of "ED" in what would have dragged Zimbabwean politics into ancient political exercise of Byzantine proportions.

A Marked Man
And on a crisp autumnal morning in South Africa, when President Mnangagwa had assumed the leadership of the nation, he humbly acknowledged Justice Maphosa in a crowd of potential investors to Zimbabwe as being the man behind his safe passage into South Africa via Mozambique after a painful journey.

There, before the world, ED thanked Maphosa for having assumed such a mammoth task which he had no obligation to.
Now the vessel that housed the ark of the political leadership in Zimbabwe, once celebrated, has revealed that allegations that he is steering clear of his homeland are in fact true and that he is a marked man.

Maphosa says there are assassins hired by elements back home tasked with "taking him out" for good.
In an exclusive interview with The Saturday Herald, where he revealed intimate details of his life under threat, Maphosa said all the "shady" allegations and legal woes being hatched against him in his adopted nation are as a result of connivance between Zimbabwean powerful men and South Africans. These people, he says, are unhappy with his role in both saving the life of the President as well as their continued closeness.

The Devil's Brew
"I was arrested. I was taken to Sunnyside by a Lucky Madonsela. This is my arrest warrant," says Maphosa showing a litany of documents that show how he was harassed, deemed an illegal immigrant and meant to be deported to Zimbabwe by road at the hands of South African authorities in record time.

"The plan was to ensure that I be left after entering Beitbridge where my security could not protect me and then something would happen to me. I was meant to be killed. I am meant to be killed," said Maphosa emphatically.

All the while there is a host of documents before him, all processed in one day, meant to make sure he was tossed out of South Africa to meet his fate at the hands of presumably Zimbabwean side based hitmen who were supposed to snuff out his life in what essentially is a game of thrones in political circles.

In what is a Devil's brew, the cocktail of allegations against him lie strewn on his desk.
"My lawyers fought for me and said to me ‘they want to deport you so that you are killed' and they fought to make sure that was not the case and I stayed in South Africa," says Maphosa.

Man in the Fortress
All the while we are in Maphosa's office in the heart of Menlyn. A beautiful artistic concrete and rugged finish mark the walls, which in turn are wrapped in a sweet blend of glass that lets in coffee brown prisms of the sun's rays as its sets.
Hanging on the walls are magenta and deep colours of frames carrying pictures of lions, no doubt an epitome of the resilient man that this multimillionaire has shown he is.

But it is not all about beauty. Or aesthetics. Or the fine high life. Far from it, in fact. Maphosa is a man living and working in a fortress. He has had to up his security as the threat against his life has escalated.

"That is the reason why I have not been coming to Zimbabwe. That is where my enemies are and the advice I got from my security team is that I should cut down on unnecessary travel to Zimbabwe or anywhere for that matter, unless I absolutely need to be there," he says.

The glass is, in fact, added bulletproof sheeting to ward off the assassin's bullet and though it looks pretty, it is a constant visual reminder of a life under siege that Justice Maphosa is living, all for having done a good deed.

Fall From Grace
But why would a person who was much celebrated all of a sudden court such hate? Such anger. Such spirited animosity and who is really behind the threats?

"Three groups are unhappy essentially. There are those who are out of a job because their side, the G40, lost. They blame me for having ensured that our President lives and now he has assumed the presidency and their plan was thwarted," says Maphosa.

"Then there are those who know I am coming back home to invest in the nation as I have always said I would. I have heeded the President's call and always wanted to invest my money back home for the sake of my nation and my people. Some think I am encroaching on to their territory which they wanted to safeguard," he adds.

The Book of Death
"Yet politically, there are manoeuvres," he adds.
"We have very powerful people also angling for the President's job or the President's ear. They want that job or to be seen to be close to him. I am close to the President like a son because of the bond we created when he lived in my house in his exile.
"These people want me taken out because of a mistaken belief that I have captured the President. Hence all the mudslinging from the media right down to my personal security," he said.

Maphosa has almost been to the gates of hell at the mercy of his adversaries who have caused him untold suffering. He sits there in the evening shade exhibiting signs of tiring from the endless daily battle of fighting. But he says he has the ultimate helper with him at all time.

Strewn across his computer screen are audio versions of the Bible and audio version that he plays when his spirit is weary and his soul burdened.

Psalms 77, Psalms 88, Psalms 90; Psalms he plays as he speaks through the interview.
"I get weak. I am human. But when I get weak I look to Him," he says, pointing to the heavens.
All the while, even his young protégé, Mthokozisi Dube, looks in awe as Maphosa opens up his heart and shows that he too can be weighed down by personal challenges.

For a man like Mthokozisi, who drives a two-door car and probably wishes he could be in Maphosa's shoes surrounded by opulence and cars with many doors, the lesson is no matter how glittering one's life looks, everyone has their own heavy burdens. Justice Maphosa is no exception evidently.

He is no stranger to the world of religion, being known for hosting the Gwanda Gospel Festival, which he funds and is eternally proud of.

It is at this festival that he is famed for going to a tree at the venue where he fellowships with his God. In his own personal passion. His Gethsemane. Where he lays down his burdens and seeks to have his soul cleansed.
Religion is his rock of ages, cleft for his soul.
He has a bombshell too. He knows his tormentors in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Not only that, he will expose them by name. Soon!

"I know these people. I will expose them soon. I want to finish these legal battles I am going through and soon after that I will expose them. All of them here (in South Africa) and in Zimbabwe. I am not afraid!" he declares.
Arguably, when he opens his book of death, of hell's angels that need to be exposed for their scheming, there shall be a gnashing of teeth.

"I will expose them soon."
His close associate, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Karikoga Kaseke, whom he helped with national events, most notably the Harare International Carnival, was beside himself when he heard news of the siege on Maphosa.

"We went through a very dark period and Maphosa helped us regain our sense of national pride, courtesy and kindness. He did a good deed. Surely, in spite of our differences, here is someone we should be celebrating as we push the country forward. The President called on us to invest in our nation and Maphosa has led the way positively. We should be supportive of him rather than harass him. This is a time for nation building. It is an age of love," said Kaseke.
"Angling for influence should not deter us from following the President's directive to love brand Zimbabwe, to love fellow patriots and to sow seeds of harmony. Now is the season for that and people like Maphosa are leading the way," Kaseke added.
But some have not gotten that memo, clearly.

No Second Thoughts
Many would look back and think twice about having helped President Mnangagwa if they could foresee that it would court so much trouble.

"I have no second thoughts. I do not regret helping the President. The President inquires on my well-being and I do not feel let down at all. He has been a supportive father and advises me. His wisdom has nourished me," he says.

"If I were to rewind time; go back in time and be faced with the prospect of helping the President again, I would do so a million-fold! A million-fold! I did the right thing and I am proud. God put me in the right place to help at the right time and I am proud of being the agent that God chose," says Maphosa.

There is a sadness in the office, however. Much as Maphosa loves his fellowshippping and religion, the ardent Christian has not gone to church with fellow congregants for the past six months for security fears.

His eyes glint. It is not a happy glint. They send flashes of pain that is almost palpable. And he goes for a second, maybe 10, of sheer silence. A silence in which the quiet godly ear can hear his breaking heart. He yearns to go to church. To meet others. To embrace in the weekly show of love and peace. But he simply cannot.

"My church is here," he says, suddenly composing himself, his eyes drying themselves, as he points to his laptop and desktop screens strewn with memory verses, whole books of the Bible and emotional religious songs. Here in his office, Justice Maphosa fellowships with TD Jakes on the computer, The Holy Spirit promised to his soul on Pentecost and his saviour.
Where two are gathered, the Bible says. Technically, as TD Jakes breaks into sermon, that probably qualifies for two people in a room. Then Maphosa's saviour joins him for the ceremony and their church is complete.

Maphosa takes a deep breath. He breaks the interview for a while and goes for his prayer. One that reportedly marks the break of his daily ritual fast. He returns clad in a black coat. His fast broken but his spirit stronger.
"It shall be well. Nothing lasts forever. And even the people that are fighting the President. They shall all fail. Because he is a God-fearing man. And God always wins. Right always wins."

But for the meantime, the man interestingly known as Justice Peace Maphosa, knows anything but peace. Yet with a resolve as stubborn as The Resurrection, this is one battle he is determined to fight and win alongside his father and mentor President Mnangagwa.

- the herald

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