Zanu PF in-fighting gets dirty as rival faction bombs party offices

This morning sources in State security intelligence working closely with millitary bomb experts revealed that they have leads linking the incident to former ruling party officials, amid reports of simmering tensions in the race to succeed the ageing Zimbabwean strongman.

\r\n

We can also reaveal that at the Zanu-PF Conference in Bulawayo early this month, some party fanctionaries openly declared war on rival groups and the Mujuru faction whose members are drawn mainly from the military establishment are saying they will not rest until they take revenge on the alleged murder of the late General-Solomon Mujuru, husband of the Vice-President and our source said they seem to have taken the matter into their hands.

\r\n

The Zimbabwe Mail is yet to establish which faction was responsible for the Gweru party offices bombing.

\r\n

The suspicious death of retired army general Solomon Mujuru continues to be a thorny issue within ZANU PF, after several reports suggests he was murdered.

\r\n

Vice President Joice Mujuru’s husband died when the farmhouse he was sleeping in caught fire, but since then the results of a police investigation have been kept under wraps. The police instead said they had forwarded their findings to the courts, who have since ordered an inquest.

\r\n

The source whose name cannot be revealed said the bomb used in Gweru on Tuesday has been traced back to military sources and in the last 24 hours they have since ruled out any involvement of rival political parties as they have no access to military cantonment areas and the focus is now on a number of leads within the Zanu (PF)’s District Cordinating Committee althought State media is already on full throttle with a bersmeching spin.

\r\n

According to State media, police could not disclose the cause of the explosion, occupants of the building – which houses other offices – suspect this was a pre-meditated attack on the Zanu-PF offices and as usual, and the sub-plot is to link the incident to rival political parties, but our source dismissed this as a smokescreen.

\r\n

Our source who pointed out events in Zanu PF Bikita District Coordinating Committee (DCC) has resulted in the warring factions opening two parallel party offices at Nyika Growth Point as not an isolated incident.

\r\n

He said some senior Zanu PF members in the District have not been secret about their intentions to attack the offices manned by rival faction.

\r\n

As we have reported elsewhere; serious in-house fighting within Zanu-PF have now trickled into the party’s grassroots structures, particularly at District level as party loyalists engage each other in sporadic direct deadly attacks as they fight for the control of the party.

\r\n

Investigations revealed this week that the Vice-President Joyce Mujuru’s faction which was always victimised due to their small numbers in the district has since opened its offices which are serving the same purpose as that one from Mnangagwa-led faction which was opened in the area in 2002 and the two factions are said to be involved in running battles in the Midlands and a party loyalists who is a senior retired army officer linked to one of the factions has been sited as the main culprit on Tuesday bomb explosion.

\r\n

 

\r\n

In typical fashion The Herald reported today that police could not disclose the cause of the explosion, but quoted “occupants of the building” saying that they suspected this was a pre-meditated attack on the Zanu-PF offices.

\r\n

And without any evidence, the Zanu-PF provincial administrator Passmore Washaya was also quoted saying the attack could have been “an act of aggression” by MDC-T activists.

\r\n

The made-up nature of the report is also exposed in the quote from Washaya which sound like it was composed in a police station: “It looks like the suspects missed their target and the explosion ended up shattering windowpanes without causing further damage,” he was quoted as saying.

\r\n

Non-security people do not speak of suspects.

\r\n

To its credit, the Herald did get an MDC spokesman to comment. MDC-T dismissed the allegations saying if there were any suspects from the MDC-T, by now they could have been a number of arrests; why MDC-T would bomb empty offices remains a mystery, particularly as the party has declared itself non-violent.

\r\n

“There is no point for us to resort to violence when it is a known fact that virtually all the urban dwellers are MDC-T party supporters. Why would we bomb other political parties’ offices when we have the majority of supporters,” said the MDC spokesman in the Midlands.  

\r\n

But The Herald went on to site increased levels of politically-motivated violence in which “several properties belonging to Zanu-PF officials and supporters” were burnt.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Property and clothes were destroyed at the party’s Joshua Nkomo district offices in Matapi, Mbare in February this year amid reports of rival factions in Zanu PF trying to wrestle the violent party Group Chipangano from Harare businessman Tendai Savanhu.

\r\n

No one was injured in the attack, but the bomb destroyed timber worth more than US$600 000.

\r\n

In recent months, the Zanu PF succession race has gained traction with the two main factions led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa hitting the campaign trail with President Mugabe’s political career drawing to an end.Robert Mugabe was endorsed as Zanu PF’s presidential candidate for elections the party is pushing for in 2012 at a Conference held in Bulawayo.

\r\n

Insiders said Mujuru and Mnangagwa’s factions now have to contend with an emerging “third force” being referred to as the Generation 40 (G40), which has been quietly positioning itself as an alternative to the tainted rivals and Youth and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is being touted as the new Obama.

\r\n

They said infighting was intensifying as it dawns on the main factions that elections might be held in 2012 when Mugabe is still fit to stand as a candidate.

\r\n

But if the polls are pushed to 2013 when they are constitutionally due, Zanu PF officials said it would not be practical or reasonable to field Mugabe as a candidate largely due to his old age and ill-health.

\r\n

The party’s plan is to secure victory using Mugabe, and then press him to resign and hand over power to a successor.

\r\n

Zanu PF officials pointed out that the succession debate could no longer remain a taboo after US cables revealed that most senior party leaders wanted Mugabe to go.

\r\n

Some party officials said these rallies were affording Mnangagwa an opportunity to reinvent himself and showcase his leadership skills. They said this was also his chance to present himself as presidential material.

\r\n

While Mnangwagwa is using his party position to campaign, Mujuru is riding on the sympathy factor following the mysterious death of her husband, General Solomon Mujuru, at his Beatrice farm. Mujuru is also showing that even without her husband, who was the rallying pillar and key strategist in her camp, she has the courage and conviction to stand up and fight for the top post.

\r\n

As the party’s secretary of legal affairs, Mnangagwa has been crisscrossing the country spelling out to supporters Zanu PF’s new rules and regulations on primary elections.

\r\n

Mujuru has been convening several meetings thanking supporters for the sympathy and support they offered her during her bereavement. She has also been meeting farmers and businesspeople.

\r\n

A party insider said: “It is interesting to see how Mujuru and Mnangagwa are positioning themselves. You can see that they are preparing us for a big fight. But the fight will only come when Mugabe announces that he is retiring, hopefully after he secures victory for the party.

\r\n

Another politburo official said there was a third force known as the G40, who are preparing the ground for their candidate.

\r\n

“Don’t rule out (Saviour) Kasukuwere, who if he implements the indigenisation and empowerment programme properly, will be a force to reckon with,” said the official. “The programme has the potential to be better than the land reform,” he said.

\r\n

Zanu PF’s campaign strategy has been to target traditional church sects, businesspeople, the youth, women and urban dwellers in its bid to win the polls and break free from the present coalition government and govern alone.

\r\n

While its two MDC coalition government partners continue to bicker about the election roadmap, Zanu PF is already in full election mode. Officials said Zanu PF was already clear on what strategies to employ to win the elections.

\r\n

To reclaim rural votes the party lost in the last election, Kasukuwere has set up community trusts through which communities in mining areas would benefit under the indigenisation and empowerment process

\r\n

All mining entities are required by law to ensure that local communities owned 10% of firms operating in their area.

\r\n

Targeting the youth, the Indigenisation ministry has set up a youth development fund to assist youths with viable project proposals.

\r\n

Through the party’s department of indigenisation and economic empowerment and commissariat, Zanu PF is organising youths and women’s groups to produce music.

\r\n

One such collaboration was witnessed last week when Diana Samkange launched a CD and music video on indigenisation.

\r\n

To ensure that it maintained its support base among farming communities, it has been distributing inputs and pushing Finance minister Tendai Biti to disburse US$40 million to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to pay farmers for produce delivered in the last farming season.

\r\n

Mugabe portrayed the MDC-T as a party that was anti-farmers last week.

\r\n

“MDC-T stands for the opposite, we want resources to be in the hands of our people, but no, says the MDC-T – they should not belong to our people alone but to the Europeans and the Americans so they can give us money,” said Mugabe.

\r\n

“They are negatives, anti-people and puppets of imperialists… the MDC-T have been showing a very negative view of the African farmer, a very negative view of agriculture as if to say food and agriculture products do not matter in our economy.”

\r\n

Zanu PF also plans to use the “luxurygate” scandal in which Biti is alleged to have released US$20 million to buy top-of-the-range vehicles for ministers, which were the second lot they received in their two-years in office.

\r\n

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s trumped-up house scandal would be another trump card which it wants to wave at the electorate.

\r\n

Tsvangirai stands accused of misappropriating US$1,5 million in public funds meant to buy a state residence for the premier and the MDC-T has dismised this as an act of desperation by Robert Mugabe and his party Zanu PF.

\r\n