Zimbabwe military junta in control again
Zimbabwe’s spy agency and military intelligence is handling Robert Mugabe’s re-election bid, according to authoritative official sources. The “election command team,” the think-tank directing the veteran ruler’s campaign in the forthcoming ballot, is getting daily briefings from the CIO and the military intelligence.
“The intelligence team is handling the whole thing and is giving the strategic direction to the whole election process,” one senior intelligence source told The Zimbabwean newspaper. “The party is simply implementing the strategy drafted by the command team. The process is moving swiftly,” the source said.
Mugabe’s command centre is headed by Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena, who resigned last week from the Airforce to be involved full time in the campaign. He will be working closely with former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director internal, Sydney Nyanhongo, at a strategic level.
The source said the CIO was leading the campaign after sharp differences within the party on what strategy to use for Mugabe’s re-election bid. However, this strategy, which has seen Zanu (PF) stage a successful political comeback, has seen some officials who were taking a back seat, once again play an active role.
The election campaign is intricately linked to Zanu (PF)’s provincial chairmen, and involves 320 military officers spread throughout the country. The majority of Zanu (PF)’s election command team, including Zanu (PF) Politburo member Jonathan Moyo, has been directed to do their job in the background.
Our source said the CIO’s counter-intelligence unit was exploring several options, including arresting the Prime Minister just before an election over WikiLeaks revelations. It’s also considering the post-election scenario, and a sensational plan to put the country under military rule if Mugabe loses the elections.
The Attorney General has commissioned a probe to establish if the Prime Minister committed treason after the secret-spilling website revealed dangerous details of high level MDC and American diplomat meetings where a plan to ease Mugabe out of office was discussed.
Tomana has invoked Section 76 sub-section 5 of the Constitution and appointed a panel of five top practising lawyers who are members of the Law Society of Zimbabwe to probe the WikiLeaks documents and find any constitutional breaches.
“I am seeking a professional legal opinion from registered lawyers to see whether there is need to prosecute anyone following revelations by the WikiLeaks website,” Tomana said. “People should understand that this is a serious matter and these experts should be accorded the right to work privately. After their recommendations, I will then decide whether there is need to open a docket against anyone.”
Wikileaks revealed details in which Tsvangirai was reported to be plotting to use help from the US to overthrow Mugabe. The detail is contained in previously confidential communication between the US State Department in Washington, DC and its Harare embassy, where the plot to oust Mugabe, including a request for cash to buy out generals, was discussed.
Trumped up charges
Due process was said to be scuttling the grand strategy of arresting Tsvangirai, as well as the feared backlash from the international community. Tsvangirai denies what he says are trumped up charges. According to the source, there have been high level meetings with the CIO directors of counter-intelligence and the command team over the plot.
But the regime was said to be treading cautiously, as any attempt to arrest the popular MDC leader could ignite protests. Political analysts have warned that the Wikileaks information could prove fatal for the MDC and risk destabilising Zimbabwe.
“Certainly for southern Africa, the WikiLeaks Zimbabwe revelations are most significant, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say they could destabilize Zimbabwe – and thus the region – even further in the months to come,” Liesl Louw- Vaudran, who works for one of Africa’s most respected security think-tanks, the Institute for Security Studies said on December 11 last year. The Zimbabwean