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Mujuru ally assaulted by CIO agents

By Ngonidzashe Mushimbo

HARARE – Zanu PF’s battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe is becoming even nastier with the latest episode being a key ally of the late Solomon Mujuru who was battered in a nightclub brawl with intelligence operatives for suggesting, Joice Mujuru should succeed the octogenarian leader.

Retired Major General Kudzai Mbudzi was battered in a nightclub brawl by CIO agents
Retired Major General Kudzai Mbudzi was battered in a nightclub brawl by CIO agents

Retired Major General Kudzai Mbudzi, a former senior Zanu PF official in Masvingo province and freedom fighter, was assaulted and ejected from a Harare bar — the ZimCafe — for insisting Joice Mujuru should lead the liberation movement.

Mbudzi said Zanu PF needed leadership renewal and the widow of the late five-star general was the ideal candidate to spark life into the party ahead of elections whose date has not yet been announced.

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The former soldier was in discussion with other patrons including journalists on Friday at the pub when intelligence operatives attacked him at the counter. He was grabbed by the collar and struggled heavily to free himself from the grip on his throat while patrons and onlookers were caught by surprise at what was happening.

The fiery war veteran, whose political allegiance to either Zanu PF or Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) is questionable, tried feebly to pack punches but was overwhelmed by the attacks.

Yesterday, Mbudzi told the Daily News on Sunday that he feared for his life and had already contacted the spy agency — the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) bosses to protest at the attack.

“I’m very bitter about the whole issue and I actually called the CIO bosses and the minister to report the incident. What pains me most is that I didn’t say anything wrong or anything defamatory because it was an open discussion and I spoke my mind.

“As as a retired major general, I must not be beaten or questioned by the CIO operatives for speaking my mind. Only Chiwenga is in a position to tell me what I said is wrong. They are not supposed to beat people. Period,” Mbudzi said.

He called on the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga to give them protection just like the late decorated general Mujuru used to do.

“Chiwenga should protect us the senior army officers and the retired generals. The late general Solomon Mujuru used to give us enough protection and respect so Chiwenga should do the same,” said Mbudzi.

Mbudzi fought in the war front with the late Mujuru and other senior commanders during the war to liberate Zimbabwe.

In February 2008, just a month before the watershed Presidential poll, he led a rebellion against Mugabe and successfully shepherded former Zanu PF politburo member and finance minister Simba Makoni to contest against him at the polls.

Mbudzi was one of the key Zanu PF members who led the campaigns against Mugabe, mainly because he felt the veteran former guerilla had outlived his usefulness in the party.

Makoni failed to defeat Mugabe and came a distant third in the 2008 poll which led to a run-off after Morgan Tsvangirai failed to garner an outright victory against the aged leader.

The results of the election however, were withheld for five weeks sparking accusations that Tsvangirai had been ‘robbed’ of victory because the inordinate delays ‘took away his votes”.

On Friday, Mbudzi repeated that Mugabe had his time and Zanu PF was headed for defeat if they allowed him to stand in the next Presidential election.

He said Mugabe was no longer giving a positive image of Zanu PF due to his old age and should be replaced by either Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa or Vice President Mujuru. Mugabe, who turned 88 on February 21, has been in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe got independence from Britain.

He has outwitted his colleagues to remain at the helm of the party although calls for him to appoint a successor are now reaching a crescendo, but in private discussions. Mujuru and Mnangagwa have for long been touted as front-runners to succeed the veteran leader who last year told a Namibian paper that he would want to celebrate 100 years still as the Zimbabwean leader.

But there is no evidence on the ground showing either of them succeeding Mugabe anytime soon. Recently, Zanu PF was left in turmoil after a clause appearing to bar Mugabe from participating in future elections, was inserted in the constitutional draft.

Mugabe has taken aim at his colleagues in Zanu PF whom he described as cowards for trying to bar him and instead, said he will amend the draft to remove that clause because “it’s just a draft not a constitution”. Daily News