HARARE – Saturday's bombings of a Zanu PF district office and Jongwe Printing Press have invoked outrage across the political spectrum, with police being urged to probe the attack conscientiously.
Many emphasised the importance of cool heads prevailing in these provocative circumstances.
Zanu PF said it was outraged, condemning the attacks “in the strongest terms.”
The 50-year-old liberation party said it was disturbed by the incidents and called on police to hold those responsible to account.
Charity Charamba, the police spokesperson, said they were investigating the bomb attack, saying preliminary findings would be unveiled soon.
“You will get developments at a press conference which might be tomorrow,” Charamba told the Daily News yesterday.
The attacks come at a time of rising tension between the ruling Zanu PF and opposition MDC which last week boycotted parliamentary debate on the inaugural speech by President Robert Mugabe, whom they believe stole the July 31 election that returned him to power for a seventh five-year term.
The bombing of Zanu PF’s Machipisa office and its Jongwe Printers is also an ominous sign that could portend a crackdown on the MDC, analysts warn.
Zanu PF has accused the MDC of masterminding the attack.
But the MDC yesterday strenuously rejected any involvement in the attack, saying it is the target of a witch-hunt after the government began efforts to crack down on it and its alleged influence.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesperson, said his party had important things to attend to than resort to arson.
“MDC has nothing to do with the burning of that little office,” Mwonzora told the Daily News.
“What is happening is a manifestation of factional fighting within Zanu PF as the party heads for its congress.”
Zanu PF is mulling convening an extraordinary congress in December that will discuss leadership changes and fill vacant posts in the presidium, according to insiders.
“They cannot blame us for their succession battles and we have no business with that and remember we were not beaten in Machipisa,” Mwonzora said.
Assailants attacked the Zanu PF offices with petrol bombs on Saturday morning, the first such assault since elections. No one was hurt in the dawn attack, with pictures showing extensive fire damage to the Machipisa office and a neighbouring shop.
Amos Midzi, Zanu PF Harare provincial chairperson, said there was another failed attempt at Jongwe Printers, which led the party into believing it was a politically-motivated arson attack by an “enemy” angry at defeat.
The opposition National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) condemned Saturday’s attack and asked security forces to find the attackers.
“It’s very unfortunate that there are elements within our society who still believe in such cowardly tactics,” said Blessing Vava, spokesperson of the new political outfit.
“We totally condemn in the strongest of terms, barbarism of that magnitude. We are a peace-loving party and we advocate for a peaceful Zimbabwe. We hope the culprits will be brought to justice.”
Civil rights activists pressed authorities to conduct a prompt investigation into the incident.
Okay Machisa, ZimRights director, condemned the attack as “barbaric”.
“That attitude is barbaric and shows political immaturity if indeed if it was done within circles of political parties,” Machisa told the Daily News.
“Parties need those structures to carry out their mandates. If you go and destroy them then purport to be democratic, it is sad.”
He said all parties in the country should let bygones be bygones and embrace political tolerance.
“Democracy is about respecting alternative voices,” he said.
“Whatever happened in the past belongs to the past.”