Trouble at the HQ?

via Trouble at the HQ? | newzimbabweconstitution 10 November 2014 by Alex T. Magaisa

I can’t place my finger on it but I sense trouble at the police headquarters. We, political watchers do not have powers of foresight, no. What we do, however is observe events, identify and try to connect the dots to try to see what is really happening or what might happen. Those who have read our piece on this blog entitled “How To ‘kill’ a Political Opponent in Zimbabwe”  might want to revisit it from time to time as it provides a point by point articulation of the methods being used in the current succession battle in Zanu PF.

We said for example that one tactic is to destroy the enemy’s pillars of support and another related one is to isolate the opponent. The past week has confirmed much of this, with provincial and youth chairpersons deemed loyal to VP Mujuru being removed one by one. The decimation of these chairpersons is designed to remove Mujuru’s pillars of strength and to isolate her politically by the time of the December Congress. The same has happened to Jabulani Sibanda, her supporter in the war veterans association. It’s a well-calculated, if naked and shameless effort to remove her pillars of support.

In the last week, Rugare Gumbo, Zanu PF’s spokesperson has been the main target of attack. He has boldly come out in support of Mujuru and for this he has suffered. As we showed in that article, one of the tactics – labelling a person as a sell-out/mutengesi has been deployed against Gumbo. All of sudden the nation is reminded that he was a sell-out during the war; that he turned against Mugabe and that now he is doing it again.

This is where the story in The Herald today poretends trouble for the subject in question and for the first time we see an attempt to attack the security structure, hitherto untouched and seemingly untouchable. “Top Cop Reverses Retraining Decision”, The Herald tells us. It’s a very short story but embedded in it is a signal that all is not well for the subject. The top cop being referred to in the story is Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri. Is this an innocent story or one that is calculated to precede other, more damaging revelations? We wait and see.

But those of us with a sense of history know that before we knew him as Augustine Chihuri, the Commissioner General answered to name of Steven Chocha in his guerrilla days. And this Steven Chocha was among guerrillas who were incarcerated towards the end of the war on allegations of planning a rebellion against the Zanu leadership.  Among his colleagues was Rugare Gumbo. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see where all this is going! If Rugare Gumbo is under such heavy fire on account of his rebellious past, it’s not difficult to see why his war-time colleagues might also be under fire.

Three things here are critical at this stage of the succession battle. The Commissioner General might have been identified as backing or being sympathetic to Mujuru, hence this preamble to negativity that is sure to follow. Second, the Commissioner General has the powers of arrest and investigation of crime. If he other tactic we referred to in that article, i.e. threaten arrest, arrest and detain for some time, is to be deployed, you need a pliable top cop. If the current top cop has not been playing ball, it is likely that the next effort would be to get him removed and with that removal another pillar will go. That way, a friendly face will take over and exercise the powers.

The other thing is that in order to save his job and livelihood, the Commissioner General might, in light of these subtle threats, realise that he has no choice but to play ball. This means if he was previously reluctant to exercise his powers of arrest and investigation, we might begin to see some action soon. Remember, The Sunday Mail told us two weeks ago that Mujuru was not immune to prosecution? That means she is not immune to arrest, too. With what we are seeing, at this point, all things are possible.

And we wouldn’t bet against other, more serious allegations being thrown in against the top cop and others. Recall that we have heard a few stories in the last 12 months, including one very recently, of top cops leaving the force unceremoniously, with much of it being linked to corruption? We suspect the files are being drawn out and we shall be reading more and more accusations.

As it stands, the frightening aspect is that the security establishment seem to now be drawn into this dirty succession battle. And it could get messier. And possibly bloody. These are tough times for Zimbabwe. We cannot lay claim to powers of prophecy, no, we cannot see into the future. But we can only assess on the available facts, connect the dots and make some forecasts. We might well be wrong – very wrong, but time, the great magician, will tell.


  • comment-avatar

    Dr Magaisa I don’t think anyone could have said it better. This is a very explosive situation and one little move can turn the situation in the country upside down. Ironically it has been fuelled by a woman who is not even a Politician. These are truly shaky times for Zimbabwe. A lot of us predicted a Zanu pf meltdown on this forum. I don’t think anyone predicted that it would come in this form. When you see the Herald paper saying what it wants about Mujuru then we know that swords are drawn. The only part that they don’t or won’t know is how this particular cookie will crumble. Wells Fargo the Bulawayo band wrote a song WATCH OUT, BIG STORM A COMING, THERE’S THUNDER AND LIGHTNING….