Senior Military officials gang-up on Mnangagwa

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) has been sucked into Zanu PF’s worsening internal fights amid claims that a group with links to serving and retired soldiers has embarked on an elaborate smear campaign against Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.\r\n

Mnangagwa is locked in a bitter war with Vice-President Joice Mujuru to succeed President Robert Mugabe as Zanu PF leader, when he decides to retire.

The battle, according to insiders, culminated in the surprise decision by Zanu PF to do away with its district co-ordinating committees (DCCs) after divisive elections early this year.

Sources yesterday said the infighting had deepened with revelations that a group of soldiers were now working overtime to “kill” Mnangagwa’s ambitions.

According to an internal document, which has been debated by the party chiefs and seen by NewsDay, Zanu PF director of commissariat Retired Air Marshal Henry Muchena, who is linked to the Mujuru faction, is connected to the plot.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of the document but claimed there were some underhand plans by the MDC-T and ex-Rhodesian intelligence agents to destroy the party.

But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora last night said: “The MDC has absolutely nothing to do with factional infighting within Zanu PF. The MDC has no time to generate any document for Zanu PF. This is not the first time Zanu PF has tried without success to link MDC to foreign agents.”

The internal document — reportedly aimed at tipping off Zanu PF leaders of the plot — further reads: “Retired Air Marshal Henry Muchena is vowing to destroy Minister of Defence ED Mnangagwa’s standing. He is repeatedly threatening that he would work closely with his
team flat out to ensure that Minister Mnangagwa’s image is destroyed.”

But, yesterday Muchena said he was not aware of the document and did not know anything about the alleged plots.

He said: “I have no idea,” before hanging up the phone.

The document claims Muchena was targeting Mnangagwa’s business empire with named Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials being allegedly used to investigate his deals.

One of the Zimra officials named in the document is reportedly married to a senior soldier.

“Plans are underway to carry out this project,” the document added.

“There are also plans to investigate the diamond mining company Anjin’s tax issues as a way to attack Minister Mnangagwa and ZDF personnel close to the project.

“Muchena is also targeting those he believes are working closely with Minister Mnangagwa.”

Mnangagwa’s allies allegedly targeted by Muchena’s group include Zanu PF Zvishavane-Runde MP Larry Mavhima and former minister July Moyo.

ZDF Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, who is also mentioned in the document, is believed to be harbouring presidential ambitions after Mugabe’s departure.

“Muchena believes he was booted out of ZDF by Chiwenga and he is vowing to hit back,” the document reads.

“He repeatedly talks about his frustrations for being ‘parked’ in Zanu PF.”

The soldiers are also reportedly not happy that Mnangagwa allegedly uses an army helicopter on private business.

Mnangagwa had allegedly strengthened his base following the DCC elections.

Strenuous efforts to get a comment from Mnangagwa were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered and could not respond to a text message sent to the phone.

Gumbo claimed the MDC-T was working with former Rhodesian intelligence officers to produce documents meant to divide Zanu PF under an operation code-named Statrek.

“We have information to that effect,” he said.

“They (MDC-T and former Rhodesian intelligence officers) had a meeting a few weeks ago.

“They want to destabilise Zanu PF, create confusion, suspicion and mistrust within the party.

“There will be lots of these documents coming out soon to try to confuse people, but it’s mere nonsense and will not deflate us,” Gumbo added. – NewsDay