Image Via: Herald
|Born||Nicholas Tasunungurwa Goche|
August 1, 1946
|Known for||Was once a member of the ZANU-PF party|
|Political party||Former ZANU-PF|
|Spouse(s)||Laura Melisa Ebineng (ex-wife)|
|Children||Nicholas Goche Junior (late)|
Nicholas Goche is a Zimbabwean politician and former Minister of Public Service and Labour. His tenure in government came to an end in December 2014 as part of the 2014 factionalism, as he was accused of plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe.
Nicholas Tasunungurwa Goche was born on 1 August in 1946. He was born in the Southern Rhodesia at a time when present day Zimbabwe was still under the minority rule of the white settlers. He had a son (Nicholas Goche Junior) who passed away in June 2015 and is formerly married to Laura Melisa Ebineng of which they have a child together.
During his early days, Goche worked for a number of companies in various capacities. He worked as the Secretary-general of Rhodesian Explosive and Chemical Workers Union between 1968 and 1970. Before long, Goche left the union and became Assistant personnel officer, payroll employees and welfare, Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries Ltd between 1970 and 1974. Between 1974 and 1977, he worked as a Personnel officer at ZIMPHOS.
At the height of the Second Chimurenga in Zimbabwe, Goche was one of the cadres went to exile due to the chaotic political situation which had claimed many lives of revolutionaries. Between 1977 and 1980, Goche was in exile.
Soon after independence, Goche returned home to work for a new independent government formed. He was appointed Senior administrative officer, Zimbabwean Embassy, Washington. He worked in that capacity from 1980 to 1983. In 1984, he was given another state assignment to work as the Under-Secretary, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1984, Goche was the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Romania and Bulgaria. Between 1987 and 1990, Goche was the Zimbabwean ambassador to China. Other positions held include;
- Deputy Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1990-91.
- Assistant, Embassy in New York, 1991–92
- Deputy Secretary for Production, ZANU-PF Mashonaland Central, 1994
- Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs, 1995-2000
- Minister of State, National Security, 2000-2005
- Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, 2005-2008
- Minister of Transport, 2008-2013.
- Minister of Public Service, 2013 - December 2014.
Goche was as one of the close loyalists of Robert Mugabe. He was once the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation which is a very influential government department. His appointment to this position shows that he had indeed earned trust and respect not only of the ZANU PF party but also of the president Robert Mugabe.
Spygate and Demotion
Goche was implicated in a spy scandal in which senior intelligence and government officials were accused of selling State secrets to hostile foreign governments. Mugabe's nephew Phillip Chiyangwa was arrested in December 2008 with five others including Zanu PF security officials, diplomats and a banker. Chiyangwa was later freed by a judge who said the state charges against him were "vague and imprecise" and did not warrant his continued detention. Three of Chiyangwa's co-accused pleaded guilty and were given sentences of between five and six years in jail.
One of the media houses in Zimbabwe hinted that Goche was one of the likely candidates to succeed Robert Mugabe who has been in office for three decades. It was generally believed that Goche had been brought close by Mugabe in order to groom him for the higher task.
Factionalism in Zanu PF
Reportedly they were two main factions in the party, one led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and another by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two factions were said to be garnering to replace Robert Mugabe. The former which was also known as the moderates was purportedly pro-business attempting to push ZANU PF politics to the political centre ground. This was reportedly done to create relations with the international community. Mnangagwa's faction also known as the 'hardliners' comprised of 'old guard' with members that has dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene since the 1980s. Some of the members allegedly supporting Mnangagwa are Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa. Mujuru was reportedly being backed by Didymus Mutasa.
Goche was believed to be one of the key strongholds in the Mujuru faction led by vice president Joice Mujuru. He was believed to be working with the Mujuru faction in a bid to remove Mugabe from power in favour of Joice Mujuru. He was also believed of working with other Mujuru loyalists in plotting for a coup against Mugabe.
Sate media reported that the Mujuru faction was plotting a coup/ assassination on Robert Mugabe and his close allies. It was believed the Goche was the one who had made contact with possible hit-men from South Africa and Israel to carry out the task. The Herald newspaper claimed that Goche used the cover of a government trip to Europe and made stop-overs in Israel and South Africa where he tried to hire assassins to take out the ageing Zanu PF leader. Goche however denied the charges arguing that he never left the country to make such arrangements.
In November 2014, Goche attended a meeting in Bindura Mashonaland central province where he wanted to submit his application for nomination in to the central committee. He had to flee for dear life after youths aligned to a faction headed by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa pounced on him, demanding that he be cleared of treason allegations before he could attend any party meetings.Goche was due to attend a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Bindura yesterday when youths mobbed him, threatening to beat him up if he insisted on attending.
Admission into Hospital
After treason allegations against Goche went viral in the media, the cabinet minister was suddenly reported to have been admitted into hospital. It was however not clear why he was in hospital. Some speculated that Goche wa suffering from a serious stress related ailment and he was in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. Some argued that Goche was suffering from hypertension which was undoubtedly triggered by the mounting pressure in the party as well as serous allegations he was facing.
Goche faced humiliation when he was barred from submitting his curriculum vitae for nomination into the ZANU PF politburo. His failure to secure a seat in the party structures made his fall inevitable. Goche could not face the humiliation and he decided to boycott the much publicised ZANU PF 6th Congress held in Harare in December 2014. He joined his fellow comrades such as Joice Mujuru and Didymus Mutasa who also conspicuously boycotted the congress. He was subsequently fired from cabinet by Robert Mugabe.
Expulsion from the Party
Goche was given a five-year suspension from the party. The suspension was announced on the 21st of May 2015 following a politburo meeting in Harare. This followed earlier revelations that Goche was one of the key architects planning an alleged coup on Robert Mugabe.
Reinstatement into party
Goche's five-year suspension was lifted at a politburo meeting that was held on 3 August 2016. Sources privy to the politburo proceedings told NewsDay that Goche’s suspension was lifted following his appeal against his sentence even though Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo and party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo could not be reached to comment.
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- Editor, [africanarguments.org/2014/01/07/understanding-the-zanu-pf-succession-mugabe-choice-likely-to-be-decisive-by-simukai-tinhu/Understanding the ZANU-PF succession: Mugabe’s choice likely to be decisive], 'African Arguments', Published: 7 Jan 2014
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