Mugabe allies go into hibernation
This follows the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)’s announcement mid this week that they are taking corrective action to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in the country, which if left unchecked, would have resulted in violent conflict.
To remedy the situation, the military is going after “criminals” in Mugabe’s administration.
Events of the past few days suggest that the ZDF is after key members of the Generation 40 (G40) faction, accused of persecuting former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The first batch of Cabinet ministers to be taken into custody by the ZDF include Finance minister Ignatius Chombo, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kudzanai Chipanga, the Zanu PF youth league secretary, was also arrested and is currently in the custody of the military and so is Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Paul Chimedza.
Since then, there have been several arrests with reports suggesting that minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Mandi Chimene, has fled the country.
Chimene has been one of the vocal figures in calling for the purging of axed Mnangagwa and Zanu PF politicians linked to the Midlands godfather.
Officials close to Chimene, however, said the politician went to China on the Zimbabwe-China Friendship Association business.
When contacted by a local provincial weekly newspaper, Chimene said there was no need for her to flee the country as she had not committed any criminal offence.
Other ministers such as Samuel Undenge (Energy), deputy Tourism minister Anastancia Ndlovu, Makhosini Hlongwane (Sports) and deputy Public Service minister Tapiwa Matangaidze have all not been reporting for duty, fearing arrests.
“The majority of these guys have deserted their offices and gone underground because they know the army is going for them. They were overzealous and they know they will not be spared,” a government source said.
Unconfirmed reports also suggested that the army had placed under house arrest the top brass of the police, including commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri.
Higher Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa, Paddy Zhanda and Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Webster Shamu were also detained for about five hours before they were released.
The military has also set up several security checkpoints across the country and on borders to look out for those who might attempt to flee.
At the Forbes Border Post, the gateway to Mozambique, reports say there has been heavy presence of military personnel since Wednesday morning.
The security check points are manned by uniformed soldiers.
Soldiers at the security check points are asking for identity documents and purpose of visit from passers-by before being allowed to progress.
A small group of about six police officers seen near the border post on Wednesday were clearly not concentrating with goings-on around the soldiers, seemingly discussing their own issues.
Observance of Detained Persons’ Constitutional Rights Legal watchdog, Veritas, this week said while the military has emphasised their respect for the Constitution, this respect must extend to the whole charter, including those provisions that protect the rights of arrested or detained persons.
“The military authorities must therefore ensure that ministers and party members who have been detained are accorded their rights under section 50 of the Constitution, in particular that they are treated humanely and with respect for their inherent dignity; permitted access to their lawyers and medical practitioners and brought before a court within 48 hours after they were detained,” said Veritas. Daily News