via Fear paralyses Mujuru faction – DailyNews Live 21 July 2015
HARARE – Political heavyweights linked to former Vice President Joice Mujuru say they are living in mortal fear of abduction by suspected State agents, with those with the means to do so moving to beef up their security.
The bigwigs who spoke to the Daily News yesterday — some of them still officially in President Robert Mugabe’s post-congress Zanu PF, while others are now said to be part of the ruling party formation that describes itself as the “original” Zanu PF and that uses the slogan People First — claimed that anyone linked to Mujuru was in danger of being abducted.
They pointed to the brazen manner in which journalist-turned-democracy activist Itai Dzamara had been abducted more than four months ago, as well as the weekend’s “attempted abduction” on former Masvingo minister of State, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, as “clear evidence that anyone seen as opposed to the post-congress Zanu PF is in danger”.
One of the affected bigwigs said, so fearful of getting abducted had many people become that some were abandoning their homes altogether, employing private security details, installing high-tech surveillance equipment at their residences and “even using public transport to try and minimise their chances of being abducted”.
Dzamara, 36, went missing on March 9 this year after staging sit-ins demanding the resignation of Mugabe from power. He was seized by five unidentified men at a barber shop in the Harare high density suburb of Glen View and bundled into an unmarked truck near his home.
Bhasikiti made sensational claims last week that he had survived an abduction attempt by persons he suspected were members of the country’s dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
After he captured one of his stalkers — a young woman whose picture he took and whom he dragged to Borrowdale Police Station — the shaken Bhasikiti ended up sleeping at a local hotel as he feared that those who had been trailing him would follow up and nab him in the dead of night.
A prominent Bulawayo-based liberation struggle stalwart, who requested anonymity for fear of further victimisation, told the Daily News yesterday that a group of people claiming to be police officers, and acting suspiciously, had visited his home on Saturday.
“Four people came to my gate claiming to be police. There was no car nearby and the closest car was parked at least 20 metres away, but my wife refused to open the gate for them. While I was inside the house I phoned some war veterans and my son and when they came to our house the group fled,” the shaken man said.
The spokesperson of the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, Rugare Gumbo, described the latest incidents of harassment and growing reports of cases of abduction as a “barbaric step backwards”.
Gumbo, the only surviving member of Dare ReChimurenga, the liberation war council that directed the country’s struggle against minority rule prior to Zimbabwe’s independence, said he too was “used to strangers trailing him”.
“It is tragic that the country has now reached a level where people are this afraid, and where no one seems to be safe anymore. What is even more unfortunate is that some of the people who are being followed are war veterans. You ask yourself whether this is the reason why we went to war,” Gumbo said.
Outspoken war veteran and former Zanu PF legislator, Margaret Dongo, was last year threatened with death if she continued criticising Mugabe.
She told the Daily News then that it had become clear that someone high up was desperate to stop her criticising the nonagenarian and talking about some of the things she knew about the ruling party.
“Warning shots have been fired at me. Someone called and said we know what you are saying is true, but the situation is not right at the moment,” the former intelligence officer said.
“Another message was also delivered through my letter box and stressed that I should be careful. When I read it, I said I have no security and I cannot afford it.
“I said my security is God and that He has been my bodyguard throughout my life, and thus He remains my bodyguard even today,” Dongo said in an interview.
But some have roped in bodyguards and are even seeking licences to carry guns.
On Sunday Bhasikiti told the Daily News that he “has increased his security and is now travelling mostly during the day”.
Asked if he was not afraid, Gumbo said when he challenged Zanu PF he was aware of the consequences.
“Sometimes I see people following me, even coming to my house, but that is part of a people’s struggle. It is unfortunate that this is coming from a party whose leaders we helped to be where there are today.
“Why trail people, why can’t we behave in a manner that develops our nation?” he asked rhetorically.
Another former ruling party bigwig said, with many Zanu PF officials alleged to have lost their lives in mysterious road accidents, there was now “a sense of trepidation among Mujuru’s allies to use their private vehicles” — with some of them allegedly opting for public transport.
“It is safer to travel to Bulawayo on a bus than a car. No one can abduct you while you are in such a public place,” the former top Zanu PF official said.
Meanwhile, Dongo yesterday advised her erstwhile Zanu PF comrades who were under the cosh in the party to be vigilant and to be wary of strangers.
“People must not jump into their private vehicles, public transport is better. And if someone knocks at your door in the evening, do not open and you should also let your neighbours know,” she advised.
Minister of Home Affairs, Ignatius Chombo, was not available for comment, although there were claims that his predecessor, Kembo Mohadi, who is now the State Security minister, was handling the matter.
Another source said what appeared to be at the centre of “this anarchy” was Dinha’s alleged proximity to the first family — a situation that had “peeved the G40”.
“It all has to do with the succession wars. Dinha is perceived to be too close to the first family now, and the G40 want to eliminate anyone who is not on their side. Secondly, it is suspected that Dinha backs 2A (Mnangagwa) instead of 2B (Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko) and his opponents feel he is better off eliminated than alive,” the source claimed.
It is Mnangagwa’s supporters who fondly refer to him as 2A, and derisively refer to Mphoko as 2B and a ceremonial VP.
The VPs are locked in a battle of supremacy, with Mphoko now linked to the G40 camp and flatly refusing to play second fiddle to his counterpart, insisting openly that they are equal.
And as Zanu PF’s seemingly intractable factional and succession wars continue to rage, government ministers and top party officials have been forced to join alliances with either of the VPs, something that Mugabe himself has recently admitted to and castigated.
Other sources said that the G40 camp was especially miffed after Mugabe did not drop Dinha from his post in his recent Cabinet reshuffle — after they had submitted a dossier which apparently detailed his alleged underhand dealings.
“In the absence of both the president and 2A, the G40 through Mphoko wanted Dinha to be arrested on corruption allegations, including extorting money from the remaining white farmers. As it is, Dinha could be arrested on charges of taking huge bribes from whites but that is just another side to the succession wars.
“Two chiefs were used by one senior security officer to coerce white farmers to testify against him. Most of them refused but there is one who agreed. A dossier was then complied against him and sent to the president.
“The plan was to get Dinha and (Mashonaland East Zanu PF chairperson Biggie) Matiza recalled during the Cabinet reshuffle that took place two weeks ago. However, he survived and they are now trying to eliminate him through other means, including having him arrested.
“Also of particular note is that there was a plot to use 2B to try and get Dinha arrested while other members of the presidium were out of the country but the bid flopped,” an insider claimed.